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HCT Wins Innovation Award for Best Applied Education Practices, at EURASHE 2022 in Belgium

The Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) has signed two collaboration agreements with European institutions, underlying its strategic initiatives to build and strengthen international partnerships in support of applied education.

The signing ceremonies resulted after an HCT delegation, led by Professor Abdullatif AlShamsi, HCT President and CEO, participated in the 31st annual conference of the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE 2022), in Brussels, Belgium, held under the theme of Next Generation PHE: Skills, Relevance, Inclusion, Digitalisation, Innovation.

The international collaborations further confirmed HCT’s leading role in the field of applied and hybrid education and as an influential Emirati educational institution at the global level. EURASHE has an organization membership of more than 600 higher education institutions.

During EURASHE 2022, HCT was announced as winner of the Innovation Award for Best Applied Education Practices, for its Global Applied Education Network (GAEN) initiative. Dr. Ahmed Samy, Executive Director of Strategy & Future, received the award on behalf of HCT. Prof. AlShamsi said he was extremely proud of HCT’s efforts in winning the award.

On behalf of HCT, Prof. AlShamsi signed an agreement with Professor Armando Pires, President of EURASHE, whereby HCT and EURASHE will collaborate to implement developmental and transformative projects, share best practices in applied education in Europe and in HCT and plan a global conference on applied education in the UAE.

Prof. AlShamsi also signed an arrangement with Professor Maurits van Rooijen, Rector of the University of Europe for Applied Science (UE) to promote student exchange programs, explore opportunities for cooperation and exchange experiences between both institutions. Dr. Ahmed Samy, HCT Executive Director of Strategy & Future, and a number of officials from the European educational partners attended the signing ceremony.

Prof. AlShamsi confirmed HCT’s intentions to build global partnerships, as part of its strategic plans to enhance HCT’s position on the global education stage, as the UAE’s largest applied higher education institution, and to foster the exchange of expertise and best practices in higher education. He noted this reflects the status of higher education in the UAE, adding that such partnerships confirm the quality of the HCT’s performance and its compliance with international standards.

Prof. AlShamsi said the EURASHE agreement is an important step in understanding European best practices in applied education, as well as in promoting joint exchange programs and supporting students. He also stressed the importance of the UE cooperation to facilitate student exchange programs, which highlight UAE’s education status and promotes the country as a sought-after learning destination for international students.

During the conference, Prof. Abdullatif AlShamsi spoke at a panel session on implementing digital education plans, where he enlightened the audience on the digital transformation of education in the UAE during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the factors enabling HCT and other UAE educational institutions to be global models for transformation towards hybrid education.

He noted HCT has become more agile in dealing with post-pandemic life in light of its successful digital learning transformation and technology-centered education environment, resulting in its digital educational model gaining acclaim locally and globally.

Prof. AlShamsi said HCT maintained a keen focus on universality of performance and excellence, in keeping with the objectives of the UAE’s national agenda that seeks to take educational institutions to the highest levels of competitiveness and global leadership.

In support of this, in 2020, HCT received global 5-year accreditation (valid until 2025) from the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), the UK’s most renowned accreditation agency. The accreditation is based on the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG) 2015, which recognized HCT’s leading efforts in developing students with academic rigor and competencies, demanded by workplaces.

In addition, HCT has become the first Higher Education Institution in the world to achieve a 5-Star rating in the QS Environment, Sustainability and Governance (ESG) category, as well as receiving a 5-Star rating in the QS Online Learning category.

Prof. AlShamsi stressed the importance of these international assessments and awards in enhance HCT's position and reputation, regionally and globally, and open door to wider areas of cooperation, global partnerships and student/faculty exchange programs.