Indian engineering and management institutes, which have set up bases in Dubai, are facing a 13-60 per cent dip in admissions due to the economic crisis in the city.
The institutes with branch campuses in Dubai include the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS)-Pilani, Institute of Management Technology (IMT), S P Jain Center of Management, and Manipal University.
Manipal University, for instance, says it has been able to admit 622 students this year against 721 last year — a drop of 13 per cent. “While institutions of higher learning in Dubai have been affected severely, we have been fortunate to have had a minimal impact on our new admissions. While partly this can be attributed to the economic slowdown and the emigration of middle-class expatriates due to job displacements, the increase in the number of universities competing for quality students is also a contributing factor,” said B Ramjee, director of Manipal University, Dubai.
Manipal University plans to have its own campus in the city, but says its plans are slightly behind schedule in the wake of the current slowdown in the economy.
The S P Jain Center of Management, on its part, did not divulge admission numbers, and said admissions had been voluntarily reduced on account of the worldwide slowdown. “But due to the current positive turnaround, we would once again be re-instating the old numbers,” said Professor Christopher Abraham, senior vice-president of the institute.
The Institute of Management Technology (IMT), on the other hand, is said to have seen a dip of 64 per cent in its admissions. While this could not be independently verified from the institute, sources in Dubai said the institute had admitted around 90 students this year against 250 students last year. Repeated attempts to reach IMT’s director and admissions office in Dubai failed.
All these institutes have rented premises at the Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) located in the Dubai Academic City — a free zone dedicated to higher education.
There are currently 32 international universities and institutions of higher learning from diverse regions including the US, Australia, India, Pakistan, Iran, Russia, Belgium, the UK and France operating out of DIAC, catering to over 12,000 students.
To counter the crisis, some institutes like S P Jain and Manipal have increased their fees. While S P Jain increased the fees by 7 per cent, Manipal did not comment on the hike. “Our pricing policies are fairly competitive and affordable, keeping in mind the middle-class community which we strive to serve. Our philosophy has never been to use pricing mechanism as a tool to attract new students and, therefore, we will not reduce our fees to achieve those ends,” said Ramjee.
However, observes say many institutes in the region are using discount pricing to attract new students. They have also introduced substantial scholarships to attract quality students. Many institutions are also coming up with early bird offers, said a professor from one of the institutes.
Industry observes in Dubai say even American institutes which have set up campuses in Dubai in the past couple of years are facing the slowdown heat with some of them struggling to attract qualified students to survive.
From: Business Standard