UAE: Dh1.9-billion scholarship to help 6,000 students study abroad


A Dh1.9-billion scholarship programme that will support a total of 6,000 students by 2028 has been launched in Abu Dhabi.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) on Thursday rolled out the Khotwa (RizeUp) programme to give thousands of high school graduates the opportunity to continue their education abroad.

With the fund, scholars will be able to study for two years at community colleges in the US and Canada. Then, they can transfer their academic credits to any international or local university to complete their bachelor’s degrees.

The programme was launched under the directives of Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office.

Sara Musallam, Minister of State for Early Education and chairperson of Adek, said: “This landmark programme is a strategic investment by Abu Dhabi Government to continue nurturing future-ready Emirati bachelor’s degree holders.

“Khotwa (RizeUp) will empower students who have not benefitted from our previous scholarships to study at international colleges and universities and graduate as highly competent, effective and productive citizens capable to enrich our national employment pool and play an active role in driving forward our knowledge-based economy.”

Adek aims to enrol 100 in the first cohort this year, with numbers set to increase annually to reach a total of 6,000 scholarship beneficiaries by 2028.

Who are eligible

>> Students at public, private and charter schools across Abu Dhabi with a minimum GPA of 65 per cent in their grade 12 finals

>> They should have scored a minimum of 3.0 in IELTS tests

>> The same criteria apply for National Service Graduates who do not hold a bachelor’s degree.

>> Priority will be given to candidates whose families are receiving social support.

For those who do not yet have the English proficiency levels to pursue post-high school studies at North American community colleges, the programme will also cover the costs of one additional year of English language studies for candidates.

These admission criteria are expected to open the opportunity to a greater number of Emirati students.

Candidates joining Khotwa (RizeUp) must commit to a homestay program during the two-year community college period, where students will reside with local families carefully selected by Adek and reputable homestay organisations across North America.

Next steps for applicants

Shortlisted candidates must attend a mandatory five-day bootcamp at Adek headquarters in October to assess their readiness for overseas study and homestay programs.

“The bootcamp will follow a programme of behavioural interviews and self-assessments, group case studies, role play and situational simulation, and soft skills training,” explained Dr Bashaer Almatrooshi, acting executive director for Talent Enablement Sector at Adek. “It will be a developmental experience for successful applicants and those who may not qualify this time around. Those selected must meet key criteria including a willingness and ability to learn in new settings.”

Successful applicants are set to leave the UAE for their assigned community college and homestay programme in January 2023.

In addition to covering tuition fees and living costs throughout their homestay program at community college, as well as their bachelor’s degree, Khotwa (RizeUp) enrollees will also receive living allowances and continuous one-on-one advisory support from Adek’s academic counsellors throughout the program.

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