Having successfully navigated a rigorous application and selection process, 140 UAE Nationals scholars in the inaugural Khotwa (RizeUp) scholarship programme - launched by Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) - are finalising preparations to kickstart their higher education studies at community colleges in the US and Canada next month.

Ahead of the beginning of the winter term in January, the first intake of successful applicants attended a pre-departure gathering, where the group of 94 male and 46 female scholars were briefed by ADEK’s Khotwa (RizeUp) advisors as well as representatives of the American and Canadian embassies who briefed the scholars about what to expect in their respective countries of study.

Dr Bashaer Almatrooshi, Acting Executive Director, Talent Enablement Sector at ADEK, said: “Our students are about to embark on an exciting journey of discovery where they will learn beyond the classroom and gain invaluable insights into international mindsets and cultures.

“This experience will enhance their personal and academic development and we trust them to make the very best of this opportunity. The majors our students will study represent priority sectors in the UAE’s national economic agenda. Khotwa (RizeUp) embodies ADEK’s commitment to offer unique learning opportunities that empower Emiratis to fulfil their potential and empower them to contribute to the development of the national economy.”

Originally designed for an initial intake of 100 successful applicants, ADEK increased the inaugural Khotwa (RizeUp) programme capacity following the candidates’ results in the selection process and their performance during the bootcamp that ADEK held which included behavioural interviews and self-assessments, group case studies, situational simulation, and soft skills training. More than 1,600 students registered for the programme with 140 scholars selected after scoring the highest points in the assessment criteria.

Dr Bashaer Almatrooshi said: “The talented pool of candidates showcased strong aptitude for learning, willing to take on a new challenge and commitment to succeed which encouraged us to expand the intake of the first year and help more scholars to jumpstart their higher education journey.

“We are confident that the selected scholars will take on their new journeys with perseverance and we will in turn continue to support them in every stage through 24/7 advisory support from January through to graduation.”

The 120 successful candidates will now study for two years at community colleges in North America and Europe, with 114 scholars set to travel to the US and 26 to Canada, before transferring their credit to an international or local university to complete a bachelor’s degree.

While overseas, the Khotwa (RizeUp) students will live with local families rigorously selected by ADEK. The homestay programme will provide students with safe and welcoming atmosphere during their studies. This opportunity will also help students improve their English language skills while fostering their cultural understanding and tolerance.

In addition to covering tuition fees and living costs throughout their homestay programme at community college, as well as during their bachelor’s degree, Khotwa (RizeUp) students will also receive living allowances.

The AED1.9 billion Khotwa (RizeUp) programme aims to provide quality education opportunities for 6,000 Emiratis by 2028. The initiative delivers alternative higher education pathways for high school graduates from a variety of academic and social backgrounds who have not previously received scholarships. The fully funded programme provides students with broad international educational experiences to empower them to shift their mindset and achieve their full potential as well as contribute to the growth of Abu Dhabi’s knowledge-based economy.