HCT reinforces commitment to 'Learning by Doing' philosophy with launch of new initiatives
- United Arab Emirates: Thursday, January 10 - 2013 at 10:22
- PRESS RELEASE
The Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), the UAE's largest higher education institution, has emphasized and reiterated its commitment to the philosophy of learning by doing (LBD), with the unveiling of a raft of new student-focused initiatives.
From the February 2013 semester, the 17 HCT colleges will build on the institution's foundation block of providing students with experience-based, applied learning environments. HCT's academic programs have been reviewed to ensure they emphasize and incorporate the learning by doing (LBD) philosophyin order to enhance students' learning, promote the achievement of the HCT learning outcomes and to meet the UAE's workforce needs.
H.E. Sheikh Nahayan recently gave the HCT's administrators the parameters within which to implement the LBD Project, by saying that HCT's future plans and programs "will stress more than ever before the practical, applied nature of our institution. Those programs will highlight our traditional approach to educating our students, that is, 'Learning by Doing'."
"As we make structural changes that emphasize our commitment to 'Learning by Doing', we will intensify our engagement with business, industry, government agencies, and the broader community. We must ensure that our students learn and can do what the country needs and wants," H.E. Sheikh Nahayan said.
His Excellency went further by saying that the Learning by Doing philosophy must "characterize every program" and that the new project will be a significant point of difference to other institutions.
"Our focus on an applied education will differentiate our offerings from those of the universities. Our focus on an applied education will distinguish HCT as an indispensable element in the development and progress of the United Arab Emirates," he added.
As a result, the HCT's Learning by Doing paradigm will see a wide variety of significant projects being implemented throughout the HCT Colleges including a greater emphasis on project-based instruction; an expansion of the use of mobile learning technologies in the Bachelor of Applied Science degrees across all Colleges; new work experience policies; new Applied Diploma programs; and a new Industry Advisory Board.
In respect of the new HCT programs H.E. Sheikh Nahayan said there would be a strong focus on preparing work-ready graduates.
"We will also offer work-readiness diplomas and other sponsored programs to respond to the needs of employees and our business and industry partners," His Excellency said.
"The move to the baccalaureate degree provides the HCTs the chance to re-design all of the degree programs, ensuring that students complete their degree ready for employment in their chosen field.It is important that the Higher Colleges become known for the technical and applied competence of the graduates. Our graduates must be the graduates of choice in any field for which they are prepared," Sheikh Nahayan said.
The Learning By Doing philosophy is an educational approach where students gradually acquire essential knowledge and skills through active, self-reflective engagement with the world inside the classroom and beyond, which increases the chance that concepts will be learned, remembered and used in a variety of situations. LBD can occur in many contexts including, collaborative work, clubs, research papers and projects, internships, capstone projects, laboratory work, speeches & presentations, conferences, forums, debates, community-based projects, field work, competitions, design projects and creative, constructive and fine arts projects.
Dr. Tayeb Kamali, HCT Vice Chancellor said the focus of the project was about the Higher Colleges being a "hands-on, skills-oriented institution."
"Our students should do things and reflect upon what they are doing and have done, and the Project is a pragmatic & practical approach to learning. We have found that our students are very good at knowing how to solve problems, which is very much like a business situation," Dr. Kamali said.
The LBD Project is designed to ensure employers and businesses are provided with work-ready HCT graduates who have the necessary skills and knowledge to enter the workforce, while providing students with the requisite training and tuition to learn in-demand technical skills and capabilities. The Project will also provide parents with the reassurance that their children can graduate with qualifications recognized and required by the UAE's employers.
"HCT students have already embraced learning by doing through their learning practices such as experiential education, problem-based learning, job-related learning, work experience and capstone courses. We are ensuring that all HCT academic programs and practices are aligned with the learning by doing philosophy," Dr. Kamali added.
Dr. Mark Drummond, Provost of the Higher Colleges of Technology said the LBD Project was a natural progression for the HCT ethos.
"We are constantly updating our programs and innovating our curriculum to meet the demands of students, and the needs of industry and government employers by producing highly trained graduates for the workforce," Dr. Drummond said.
"The unique aspect of HCT is that it offers different programs tailored to suit students in the locations where they live, as well as offering more bachelor's and applied bachelor's degrees which are designed to meet not only the growing needs of the students, but also of employers, industry and government groups, and the community," Dr. Drummond concluded.
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