Previously Szabist University in Dubai was the only Pakistani university in the emirates. Abasyn’s Ras Al Khaimah centre is its overseas branch campus. As a famed brand in Pakistan, the Abasyn University has campuses in Peshawar and Islamabad. Abasyn University is considered to be more affordable as it charges only Dh1,200 a month. This makes it more affordable than Szabist which charges Dh1,900, and Abasyn is significantly cheaper than other institutions.
On average, university fees in the UAE start at about Dh25,000 a year. However, for anything science or engineering based, costs can rise to more than Dh45,000.The RAK campus, which accepts students of all nationalities, was given the go ahead by the higher education commission in Pakistan. It will open for the new academic year in September in the RAK Free Trade Zone Authority, which is working to implement a set of quality control standards based on those used in Dubai’s free zones under the Knowledge and Human Development Authority as it tries to expand its educational offerings.
Sajjad Hussein, the campus head, said there was a huge demand in the Pakistani community for affordable education. A 2005 census found the Pakistani community was the second largest in the UAE after Indians, with about 1.25 million people living here.
Dr Mohammed Nawaz Brohi, campus director at Szabist, that now has enrolled 500 students, said he welcomed the new university.
“The Pakistani population in the UAE is growing, so we need to be sure to offer them affordable, good quality choices,” he said.
In order to help people afford the fees, Abasyn, like Szabist, offers a monthly instalment scheme rather than asking for payment in advance for a term or academic year.
The campus, which can accommodate 200 to 300 students per morning, afternoon or evening session, will offer full and part- time courses and is housed within a compound that includes two schools and the Birla Institute of Technology from India. There is also a mosque and canteen. A handful of students have already enrolled at Abasyn.
Initially only business, computing and commerce courses will be available. Officials will tour schools around the country to spread awareness before introducing more courses such as engineering and tourism.
Peter Fort, RAK free trade zone authority’s chief executive, welcomed the university’s opening in the emirate. “Abasyn is adding to the portfolio of diverse academic institutions that are setting up in RAK, including École Polytechnique de Lausanne, Birla Institute of Technology, and the University of Bolton,” he said. “These universities are helping us establish a reputation as a regional and global centre for high-quality and accessible education.
Earlier Dr Shaikh Majid Bin Saeed Al Nuaimi, Chairman of Abasyn University RAK-UAE, inaugurated its offshore campus in Ras Al Khaimah. The opening was followed by a youth-centred event in which Pakistani singer Abrarul Haq performed. The campus is endorsed by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan as a campus of Abasyn University in Pakistan and by Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone.