The Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) has celebrated the launch of its pioneering Global Applied Education Network (GAEN), the first initiative of its kind geared towards applied education in the region.
GAEN was launched by signing a series of Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) involving eight of the world’s leading applied higher education institutions.
His Excellency Nasser Thani Al Hamli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratization and Higher Colleges of Technology’s Chancellor and His Excellency Dr Abdullatif Al Shamsi, Higher Colleges of Technology President & CEO, represented HCT at the MoU signing. They were joined by presidents and representatives from other educational institutions, including University of Limerick, Institute of Technology, Republic of Ireland, and The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Canada.
The event took place at the One and Only Royal Mirage hotel and also saw MoUs signed with other parties, including Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK; Florida International University, Miami, USA; Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia; Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia; and Universidad Tecmilenio, Monterrey, Mexico, as well as a number of VIPs and dignitaries from the education sector.
His Excellency Nasser Thani Al Hamli expressed his delight with the launch of Global Applied Education Network (GAEN) as it places HCT in the lead, alongside its global partners, of the region’s applied education field. He expressed hope this partnership will support HCT’s goals of building tomorrow’s leaders by providing them with the necessary education and skills to launch their careers, while helping them build a better future for themselves and generations to come.
He added: “This collaboration will create many opportunities that focus on sharing the knowledge, expertise, research and skills required for the future and will support the process of creativity and innovation among faculty members and students, providing the strongest start to their career. It will also enhance the opportunities for intellectual and cultural exchanges between our region and the world.”
He stressed the pursuit of quality output that will be the first choice of employers in the market, especially with the increasing challenges in light of technological developments and functional changes imposed by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and the need to build a generation of qualified, skilled graduates with the creativity and ability to find innovative solutions to the challenges faced by industry.
He commended the efforts of all involved in launching this initiative, which reflects the innovative vision of the Higher Colleges of Technology.
Dr Abdullatif Al Shamsi, Higher Colleges of Technology President & CEO, added: “We are delighted to be pioneering this collaborative knowledge exchange and network that will drive global best practice when it comes to applied higher education in the UAE, and beyond. We look forward to working with our international partners on this important initiative that will serve as a model for other institutions to aspire to and emulate”.
He added: “For 30 years, we have constantly endeavoured to be one step ahead and to offer our students the best possible advantages and our industry partners the most employable graduates with the skills needed to succeed in the emerging fourth industrial revolution environment.”
After a long process that saw delegates from HCT, the UAE’s leading institute of higher education, visit Europe and Australasia to meet with up to 35 potential members, the first batch of GAEN partners were chosen after meeting strict criteria set out by HCT.
In order to become part of GAEN, an institution must provide peer applied education with a core focus on science, technology and innovation. It must have high graduate employability rates of 80 per cent or more with a strategic focus on industry partnerships and be featured in the top 200-300 worldwide or top 10 national rankings for universities and colleges. Members must also operate multiple campuses, either nationally or internationally.
GAEN will support the UAE, Gulf region and MENA economies by applying proven and global effective expertise to boost the employability of its graduates, promote cultural exchanges, expand partnerships with national and international companies and support the UAE’s drive towards a knowledge-based economy.
As the ﬁrst global applied education network in the region, GAEN will align the strategic priorities of its founding members and those to come, through sharing of best practices and facilitating cooperation on applied research and academic matters on a global level.
As an open network of institutions, more universities will sign up to become members of GAEN in the future.