From humble beginnings in 1988, the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) has grown to become the largest higher education institution in the United Arab Emirates.
In a relatively short twenty-five years, the Higher Colleges of Technology’s evolution to be at the vanguard of higher education in the UAE has mirrored the phenomenal growth and development of this fledgling nation, which itself has recently celebrated forty-one years of the union of its seven emirates.
From having about 240 students enrolled at four colleges, the HCT has grown exponentially to where it now educates over 18,000 male and female students in 17 modern and well-equipped campuses located throughout the UAE.
In this academic year the HCT community of management, faculty, staff, students and alumni is proud to celebrate its 25th Anniversary.
Due to the visionary leadership of our nation’s leaders, the HCT has become synonymous with excellence in education for all of its young citizens. In 1985, H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan made a commitment to establish a new system of post-secondary education for UAE Nationals, no matter where they lived within the UAE, which would stress the ideals of productivity, self-determination and excellence.
His Excellency envisioned a system of the highest quality that would be used to educate Nationals for the professional and technical careers necessary in a rapidly developing society and which would create a new generation of work-ready graduates to help maintain the rapid growth of the economy.
In fulfillment of that vision, the HCT was established in 1988 by Federal Law No 2 issued by the Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founder of the Nation, may his soul rest in peace. That vision has continued with the ongoing support of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President; His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces; and the rulers of the other emirates.
The HCT model offered a new type of hands-on, or applied, education, designed to appeal to young Emirati males and females, which is still in evidence today. On every campus, HCT students learn in a technologically sophisticated educational environment that encourages development of independent and lifelong learning skills necessary for success in a fast changing world. The emphasis continues to be on learning by doing – that is, student-centered, technology enabled and workplace relevant teaching-learning practices, where new skills and teaching techniques are regularly incorporated into the colleges’ programmes and courses.
Through its innovative learning systems the Higher Colleges of Technology has transformed thousands of lives, as it has seen nearly 60,000 alumni graduating from its ranks.
The HCT shows great pride in celebrating the achievements of its alumni who have carved out significant careers in all facets of UAE society, commerce, government and industry as nation builders. Many of these illustrious alumni have gone on to further studies here in the UAE and overseas, having had instilled in them a desire for lifelong learning while at the HCT.
Today, the HCT is an internationally recognised institution which, in meeting the demands and needs of employers, society and its students, offers a variety of bachelor degree courses. These courses continue to provide its students with hands-on and technology-based learning experiences, but also give students the opportunities to learn about their own, and other, cultures and gain international experience by engaging in overseas study and training tours.
The HCT was the UAE’s first higher education institution to convert its campuses into fully wireless, eLearning environments, enabling students to access vital information on classes and programs, research material, access extra-mural information and contact faculty members from the ease of their laptops and mobile devices. This has carried on with the launch of the UAE Federal Mobile Learning Initiative.
Furthermore, the HCT has maintained an ongoing commitment to ensure its students learn in modern, safe and comfortable environments with the construction of new, and the renovation of existing, campus facilities throughout the country.
A hallmark of the HCT’s emphasis on preparing students for a globalised workplace is its leveraging of numerous local, regional and international collaborations. These collaborations, or partnerships, provide students with the opportunities to become conversant with international best practices in their professions and also gain an understanding of other cultures.
These objectives are achieved through a number of avenues including: the hosting of major international conferences such as Education Without Borders and Festival of Thinkers; the colleges organising and hosting international conferences and forums across a variety of fields; and sending HCT students to different countries and international institutions for work experience, language training and cultural visits.
Furthermore, HCT has established active links, collaborations and relationships with major companies and organisations in the UAE and with many of the world’s leading universities and organisations to ensure that its programmes and practices meet international best practices, benchmarks and accreditation standards.
In addition to its teaching and learning achievements, the Higher Colleges of Technology proudly celebrates being an employer of a rich diversity of cultures, backgrounds and education with its more than 2,000 employees, faculty and staff from 50 countries, all of whom help to make the HCT community a vibrant and dynamic place of learning.
As it celebrates its historic silver anniversary this year, the Higher Colleges of Technology continues to meet the needs of the growing UAE economy, with new programmes being explored and offered and existing programmes being revised and updated. It continues on its path to produce the next generation of nation builders and leaders.