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In today’s globalized, automation-driven workforce –and as the UAE transitions towards a knowledge-based economy—there is a growing demand for jobs that require science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills. Primary education and higher education share an equal responsibility for developing long-term strategies that focus on shifting the mindset of young students towards STEM education. Institutions in the UAE have already embarked on a journey to make STEM more appealing, through interactive science fairs, innovation competitions, hackathons, an applied learning approach and other innovative learning tools.
Abu Dhabi University (ADU)’s strategy has been focused on expanding its program offerings to keep abreast of global STEM trends, engaging students in science experimentation as well as promoting STEM subjects among high school students. The university is one of the UAE’s leading institutions in delivering engineering, technology and science programs focused on developing knowledge and practical experience, as well as creative and analytical-thinking skills.
With a number of global accreditations from prestigious institutions including the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) and the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), the ADU College of Engineering has become the largest engineering college in the UAE. It offers a range of engineering and technology programs at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. ADU has remained adaptive and quick to respond to current and forecasted job market needs.
According to last year’s UAE Economic Graph, research found that Robotics, 3D Printing and the Internet of Things are the main skill clusters driving innovation in the UAE. To cater to this growing trend, the university has set plans to introduce new and innovative undergraduate programs focusing on Cyber Security Engineering, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, and Software Engineering.
Understanding how STEM will be in high demand in all job sectors, the university directs its efforts towards building graduates’ practical skills and embedding relevant STEM principles into their educational experiences. From visits to construction sites, research and innovation competitions and workshops, the university facilitates incorporate various methods for students to apply their understanding of the concepts learned in class to real-world scenarios.
In addition, the university has forged partnerships with top-ranked international engineering schools including the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Purdue University, and the Indian Institute of Technology. Collaborating with industries and international professional engineering and architecture bodies ensure ADU’s College of Engineering continue to remain at the cutting-edge of developments in the fast-changing fields of engineering and technology.
As part of its STEM-development strategy, the university has not only remained actively engaged in local and regional events such as the Abu Dhabi Science Festival, Think Science and Future Generation competition, but has also developed its own calendar of events focused mainly on academic research, science and innovation. Through these events, the university focused on building STEM skills among its students as well as school students at various levels, further enriching their understanding of its different subjects. An example of some of its successful events include the annual Think Science University Competition, Undergraduate Research Competition in addition to school competitions focused on designing and crafting engineering models.
Over the next year, the university has plans to introduce new programs in Health Sciences and Engineering that aim to open up opportunities for students to explore various areas of study in STEM.