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Development of higher education in the UAE is one of the major priorities for the country’s leaders. The president of the UAE claims that the country needs professionals in a variety of fields and higher education is one of the ways to ensure availability of high-profile employees (“Educating the Next Generation,” 2007). Reportedly, the enrolment rates have differed at different times, but now more and more young people apply to higher educational establishment (“Educating the Next Generation,” 2007). Clearly, there is interest in higher education among young Emiratis. Recent constraints in the country’s economic situation prove that the UAE requires ‘national’ high-profile professionals. At present, many companies have to rely on professionals coming from oversees.
Admittedly, economy of this country needs home-grown professionals as they will be more interested in the country’s development. Thus, officials point out that there is a positive trend and more young Emirati people are interested in obtaining higher education. However, it is still quite unclear whether those who are enrolled in higher educational establishments have the same life goals throughout the years of their study. It is important to understand whether the interest in professional careers remain when the students are about to graduate from the universities. It is necessary to study whether students have specific life goals during their years at the university and whether these goals remain unchanged.
Do freshmen and senior students have similar life goals?
Research Aim and Objectives
To address the research question, it is possible to conduct a quantitative research. The aim of the research is to reveal possible disparity between freshmen’s and senior students’ life goals. The research will have the following objectives:
- To explore major life goals of freshmen;
- To explore major life goals of senior students;
- To compare life goals of the freshmen and senior students.
Brief Literature Review
It is important to note that there is certain research on female students’ expectations and life goals. For instance, Madsen and Cook (2010) explore females’ expectations and evolvement of their outlook (their viewpoints on females’ roles in the society). The researchers also claim that females have been encouraged to obtain higher education for a few decades only, but enrollment rates of female students have been increasing.
Another research also focuses on female students in the UAE. Khine and Hayes (2010) concentrate on female students’ epistemological beliefs. The researchers also note that female students have quite different outlooks in different periods of their study. As far as male students are concerned, the research is not that extensive. Though male students have been encouraged to apply to higher educational establishments, the enrollment rates have always been rather low (“Educating the Next Generation,” 2007). At present, the Emirati leaders are trying to change the situation.
Obviously, there is certain research on some aspects of higher education in the UAE. However, there is little information on the way students develop their plans for future and set their life goals. It is not clear whether students understand outcomes of their studies and whether they will be able to apply their knowledge and skills in future and become successful. There is no extensive data on the outlooks of female as well as male students in different periods of their study.
Brief Conceptual Framework
To address the existing gap, it is crucial to conduct comprehensive research. The first step in this direction will be conduction of quantitative research. Therefore, the conceptual framework for this research will be developed as a thorough analysis of quantitative data. The hypothesis which will be checked can be formulated as follows:
Freshmen and senior students of higher educational establishments in the UAE have quite different life goals at the beginning and at the end of their studies.
As has been mentioned above, the present research requires analysis of quantitative data. In the first place, it is necessary to make sure that the data collection will be carried out properly. To obtain enough data for the present research, the research will include 500 samples. 250 participants will be students (both male and female) in their first year of study. 250 participants will be students (both male and female) in their last year. These will be two major groups of samples. Notably, the number of students in the two groups is even to make sure that the analysis is unbiased and reliable. It is also necessary to point out that the samples will be randomly chosen from the enrolled students of several universities of the UAE. All the necessary permission and approval documents will be obtained before the beginning of the research. Gender, age, socio-economic and cultural background will not be taken into account. The number of male and female students within each group will be approximately even. Students will be asked to complete the questionnaire and send it back within certain time limit. The questionnaires will not contain more than 15 questions.
Collection of the primary data will be carried out with the help of questionnaires sent to the participants online. This will help carry out the survey quite quickly and efficiently. The students will also be able to think the questions over at their own pace without being in a hurry. The questionnaires will be developed so that they will include numerical as well as categorical data. The participants will include information about their age, gender, the year of study. They will also choose certain categories concerning their life goals. After the data have been collected, they will be analyzed carefully. It is necessary to add that the major focus of the research is to identify possible disparity in student’s life goals. Therefore, the exact goals will not be identified and the participants will not include their goals and plans, they will choose specific categories which will help identify the disparity if any.
From the general reading on the topic, expected findings can be formulated as follows:
- Freshmen students’ life goals are rather abstract. Even though young people enter a university to obtain specific qualifications or even to obtain certain skills to start working in a particular company, these people’s life goals are not very precise. They are not sure about the way they will be able to apply their knowledge and skills.
- On the contrary, senior students have more definite life goals. They often know the way they will apply their skills and knowledge obtained at the university. They often have particular companies in mind. They are also able to see benefits as well as flaws of the chosen area.
- There will be no or little disparity between female and male students’ life goals. Possible difference between male and females students’ outlooks in their first and last years at university can be found. However, both female and male students will have quite similar life goals.
Educating the next generation of Emiratis: A master plan for UAE higher education. (2007). Web.
Khine, M.S. & Hayes, B. (2010) Investigating women’s ways of knowing: An exploratory study in the UAE. Issues in Educational Research, 20(2), 105-117.
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Madsen, S.R. & Cook, B.J. (2010) Transformative learning: UAE, women, and higher education. Journal of Global Responsibility, 1(1), 127-148.