Ajman: Omani students at the Ajman University of Science and Technology were shocked to learn their country had removed the institution from a list of approved UAE universities.
The decision, made on Thursday, means students from the sultanate are prohibited from studying at the university starting from the next academic year.
The College of Islamic and Arabic Studies in Dubai was also blacklisted by the ministry.
The move came after a study by Oman’s committee on qualifications for institutions showed a low success rate for graduates in job interviews, despite about 10,000 Omanis having graduated from Ajman University, or Aust, since it was founded in 1988.
Some of the 749 Omani students still enrolled at Aust said the ban had come as a surprise.
Mohammed Al Saeedi, 35, was told about the ban by a friend who works at the ministry of higher education in Oman.
“When I read the email that I received from my friend I was surprised,” said Mr Al Saeedi, a graphic-design student.
“Each year the university is developing more than previous years, and before joining Ajman University many people advised me to study there because its educational level is better than other universities.
“But when I read the details, I knew that the law wouldn’t apply to me because I am a senior and will graduate next semester.
“I studied before at a college in Dubai and left it. I see Ajman University as the strongest one. If it wasn’t that strong, I would not study here.”
Mr Al Saeedi said he intended to graduate with a master’s degree despite the ruling.
“I would love to get my master’s degree in graphic design from Aust, where I greatly benefited, more than other universities, in terms of theoretical and practical teaching and training, and I advise Omanis and every student to study at this university,” he said.
The ministry said Omani students enrolled at Aust and the College of Islamic and Arabic Studies would still receive their qualifications.
But degrees would no longer be accredited from next year.
Ammer Salim, 19, a second-year law student at Aust, said the university was “resolute in everything”. He comes from Oman but has held a UAE passport since 2002.
“Ajman University is the best university in the UAE and has a good reputation.
“In addition to the availability of everything it has strict laws in terms of cheating.”
Mr Salim said if he lived and studied in the UAE as an Omani, he would leave the university and the country to continue his education elsewhere.
Aust said the Omani ministry had not communicated with the university before making the decision.
© The National