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Omani students ignore ban on studies at Ajman University

AJMAN // Omani students are still enrolling in Ajman University two years after Oman removed it from its list of approved tertiary institutions.

In March 2015, Oman’s ministry of higher education decided to remove Ajman University from the list after a study reported its graduates’ low employment rate.

At the time, 749 Omanis were studying at Ajman University, and more than 10,000 Omanis have graduated from the university since its inception in 1988.

Dr Abdulhaq Al Nuaimi, the institution’s vice chancellor, said although Oman’s decision came as a shock, it had not stopped Omanis from enrolling in Ajman University, although its number of Omani students have declined.

“In the past two years, 59 Omani students have been admitted to the university,” he said. “That means they have hope that their country will return the institution to the list of approved universities.”

In 2013, Oman’s jobless rate was below 5 per cent, but it has been rising steadily as large numbers of graduates enter the job market.

Omani students in Ajman said their compatriots’ continual enrolment in AU showed that they were planning to pursue a career in the UAE or elsewhere in the region.

Mazyoud Al Shehhi, 25, said he planned to build a career and a new life in the UAE. “I am doing my master’s degree in law at the university, which is approved by the UAE and that is what matters to me,” he said. “My future and life are here.”

Second-year law student Hamdan Al Shehhi, 22, said he had no reservation about studying at Ajman University because he did not plan to work in Oman after his graduation.

“I have never thought about going back to Oman,” he said. “My mother is Emirati and I want to stay here and build my future in the UAE.”

Like Mr Al Shehi, interior design student Mariya Al Mamari, 18, has no plans to return to Oman, and says she has no complaints about her classes at Ajman University.

“I was born and raised in the UAE and I want to live my whole life here, so this decision will never affect me,” she said. “My family is not planning to go back home.

“It is my second semester at the university and I feel I am learning many creative and new things. I chose to study here after I heard about its good reputation from friends and family members.”

When Oman’s ministry of higher education decided to remove Ajman University from the list, the university contacted the ministry in an effort to lobby for its return.

“They told us the education outputs of the university, specifically the college of education, were not qualified as expected,” said Dr Al Nuaimi. “They judged this based on interviews with graduates who were not successful in their job interviews.

“We want to know what exactly they want from the university to return it to the list.”

Staff members of Ajman University plan to visit the Omani ministry to share their plans for new courses.

“We are working on establishing the college of human medicine and adding a doctorate in law, master’s degree in Arabic, and bachelor’s degree in civil and mechanical engineering, and psychology,” said Dr Al Nuaimi.

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The National