Founded in 1988, the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) is the UAE’s largest applied higher educational institution, and the nation’s first approved university economic free zone, empowering it to graduate companies in alignment with the directives of the UAE’s wise leadership.
Over 23,000 students attend 17 men’s and women’s campuses in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Al Dhafra region, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. Female students constitute 63% of the student body, which reflects the HCT’s key role in preparing Emirati females to contribute effectively to national development in the service of their country. Since 1991, the HCT has proudly awarded over 72,000 academic degrees to male and female graduates who have succeeded in applying the quality education gained during their study in HCT.
In 2019, the UAE’s 50-year leap came to fruition in the guise of a new direction for the Higher Colleges of Technology, with the launching of the HCT 4.0 – Employability & Beyond strategic plan, based on the directives of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.
HCT 4.0 is based on three foundational pillars, which are:
- “Technical Leaders”:
The HCT will equip graduates with professional skills and practical training through the implementation of the “Hybrid Education” Model, empowering them to become leaders in their areas of specialization. The HCT has established partnerships with around 22 international certification-awarding bodies in order to enable each graduate to obtain two certificates upon completion of their HCT studies – an academic degree and an international professional certificate. To date, thousands of students have earned international professional certificates while still pursuing their studies at HCT, allowing them to keep pace with the international future skills and increase their employment opportunities.
- “No Emirati Left Behind”:
The HCT will provide opportunities for every male and female Emirati to join the Higher Colleges of Technology, based on each student’s capabilities and interests, by offering study paths from Diploma qualifications to Bachelor degrees. These are in addition to a professional careers track and the establishment of Sector Skills Academies. Consequently, HCT graduates will acquire new skills that will help them to cope with the changing requirements of the labor market.
- “Graduating Companies”:
The HCT established its first economic and innovative free zone at the HCT-Dubai Men’s campus, which was inaugurated by HH Sheikh Abdulla Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The zone’s name – “InncuVation Space” – is a novel, creative term that is in keeping with the UAE leadership’s vision in support of the national economy. The term encompasses the three concepts of “Innovation”, “Incubate” and “Venture”. Hence, the InncuVation Space will empower HCT graduates and employees to keep pace with accelerating job changes, dictated by the prospective disappearance of 40% of jobs within 15-20 years due to job automation. Under the HCT 4.0 strategic plan, HCT will empower its students to create their own employment opportunities. This required a quantum shift based on the UAE’s 50-year leap, represented in the transition from HCT 2.0, whose aim was to prepare students for jobs of the future, to HCT 4.0 whose aim is to empower students to become opportunity makers.
Vision, Mission & Values
In 1985, H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Chancellor of the United Arab Emirates University, made a commitment to establish a new system of post-secondary education for UAE Nationals that 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.
In fulfillment of that vision, the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) was established in 1988 by Federal Law No 2 issued by the Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may his soul rest in peace.
Four colleges commenced that year. Since then, thirteen additional colleges and the Center of Excellence for Applied Research and Training (CERT) have opened throughout the Emirates to form the system of the Higher Colleges of Technology.