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Date: 20-July-2020

RAKMHSU: Committed to advancement of knowledge in the UAE

pursuing healthcare

Dr S. Gurumadhva Rao, President, RAKMHSU

Internationally-recognised healthcare curricula has hightened its popularity among locals and expat students

How is your university contributing to the UAE's higher education in line with government's Vision 2021 to realise a 'First-rate Education System'?

RAKMHSU has been meticulously following the Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA) standards for licensure and accreditation. RAKMHSU is proud to share that it has been absolutely honest and transparent. RAKMHSU has a very sound feedback system from the students as well as the faculty. Based on the feedback, RAKMHSU regularly have taken steps to not only to understand the strength and weaknesses but also to rectify the weaknesses. In addition, whenever there is an opportunity to meet the external experts, RAKMHSU make it a point to get their feedback. The Expert Review Team (ERT) nominated by the CAA, which used to visit the University for the accreditation process, also has guided us in identifying our strength and weaknesses. Thus RAKMHSU has been in a continuous journey towards success.

What challenges and opportunities did you witness moving from physical to online classes during the Covid-19 pandemic? How is technology and digitisation influencing higher education?

Being a Health Science University, it is a big challenge to transit into online classes, because the clinical and the practical skills are very difficult to be taught during online process. However, the first step was to identify the software for the online teaching and online examination. The Google Hangouts Meet and Google Classroom were used after training both the faculty and the students. Similarly, for the online assessment, the specific online tool 'Splashgain' was used to conduct the online examinations.

The challenges were of different types, one was to search for the new technology and second was getting oriented to the new technology both by the faculty and the students and then implementing the technology both for online teaching and online assessment. Fortunately, both faculty and students adapted quite appreciably. We were able to solve some of the technical problems like inability to log in, inability to proctor, abrupt discontinuation of the examination process, inability to operate the camera and several other problems. For the clinical skills, the student have to spend time with the patients to get the first-hand experience in diagnosing the patients and this will not be possible and will be extremely difficult online.

As far as opportunities are concerned, now having a confidence of implementing both online teaching and online examination will give us opportunity to use this technology in the day-to-day practice in our education process.

How does UAE ranking system fare against other world ranking systems? What is your opinion on increasing diversity - students and subjects - in the nation's education sector?

Until now we have not participated in the UAE ranking system for the simple reason that presently there are no approved ranking system in UAE. The QS Ranking in UAE only ranks those universities participating in its survey. We hope the Ministry of Education will come out with the parameter and guidelines for the UAE.

RAKMHSU is proud to have a good diversity by having the students from 50 nationalities and faculty from 30 nationalities. Diversity is one of the major tools where students will be able to learn and understand different cultures of different nationalities, in addition to their professional experience.

Please explain some of the futuristic educational trends developing in the UAE

The online teaching will be used more and more frequently. However online examinations may require more monitoring system. Of course, the different methods of robotic diagnostic tools and teaching methodologies and using artificial intelligence also will be definitely in the picture. One should remember that there is no alternative for a teacher for the clinical training. Even though we have to use different technology, we have to ensure that the technology does not get the superiority over the human factor.

In your opinion, how adept is the UAE education system to fulfil the demands related to career opportunities?

The Ministry of Education in UAE has taken very elaborate steps to match the international education system by having standards. The ministry has also taken care to implement the guidelines in a transparent way and this has shown the significant results in implementing the quality of education.

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