CUHK teams with Kuwaiti school to offer degree

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 December, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 December, 2009, 12:00am

Chinese University is setting up a business school in Kuwait with Kuwait-Asia University in an attempt to gain a foothold in the booming field of Islamic finance education in the Middle East.

Kuwait-Asia University will open in 2014 and will initially set up a business school with the help of Chinese University.

Professor Wong Tak-jun, dean of the faculty of business administration at Chinese University, said a first batch of around 100 postgraduate business students at Chinese University would go to Kuwait next year for part of their programmes.

Wong said Chinese University teaching staff would conduct lessons at other university campuses or government premises in Kuwait before the new university opened.

'We will offer new intensive postgraduate diploma programmes in business at CU in spring next year, the credits of which could be transferred to our master of business administration programmes,' he said. 'A semester of the programme can be conducted in Kuwait.'

Wong said Chinese University was approached by the Kuwaiti side two years ago.

'What the market [for higher education in Kuwait] needs the most is expertise and teaching talent for MBAs in global finance and technology,' he said. 'We will transplant our existing curriculum, teaching methods and culture to Kuwait. They will give us endowment for the employment of business chair professors. After the university is set up, we will jointly run MBA and EMBA programmes, with students from Hong Kong and Kuwait travelling to both sides for lessons and exchanges.'

Professor Ali al-Tarrah, a member of Kuwait-Asia University business school's executive committee, said the joint venture was prompted by closer ties between Asia and the Middle East.

Describing the new university's business school as 'the modern Silk Road' linking the Middle East and Asia, Tarrah said working with Chinese University would be a welcome respite from business education models dominated by the West.

'After 9/11, it's increasingly difficult [for our students] to get visas ... working with Chinese people also gives us equal footing,' he said.

A new research centre - the Asia Business Studies Institute - will be set up next year with headquarters at Chinese University and in Kuwait.

Wong said it would specialise in finance research in the Middle East and China and funding would come from the Kuwait Foundation for Advancement of Science.

Despite the Dubai debt crisis, Wong was adamant that Islamic finance education would be a buoyant sector, with bright prospects.

'The market is bound to have rises and falls,' he said. 'Kuwait will always have oil and the Middle East will always have energy resources. Islamic finance is a somewhat new market. The direction of future development should be there.'