With its student population set to cross 5,000 this Fall Semester starting from August 29, College of the North Atlantic - Qatar (CNA-Q) is gearing up for a huge transformation as it will soon be the first applied university in Qatar, said CNA-Q president Dr Salem Al-Naemi in an exclusive interview with Gulf Times.
“As I understand, the Cabinet has recommended the draft for changing CNA-Q to a national university. Once the decree is signed, we will become officially a university and only then we can reveal the actual name and the new identity. We are waiting for the approval and we hope the decision will be sooner than later,” said Dr Al-Naemi.
“We hope that the college will soon be recognised as a university and the faculty, students, alumni among others are eagerly waiting for the moment. We hope that the moment is not far away and meanwhile, we continue our business as usual,” he said.
Dr Al-Naemi, the sixth president of CNA-Q, noted that there is a great demand for the programmes of the college and the demand for the newly launched graduate programmes this year, have exceeded the expectations.
“Last year, the college announced three bachelor's degrees and there was great demand for the programmes. This year we are offering about 20 new programmes. Seventeen of them are bachelor's programmes and three of them are master's. For the first time we are offering master's programmes. The demand for master's programmes is very high and the number of applicants are almost double or above. With all these programmes, we will have over 5,000 students from this Fall Semester,” explained Dr Al-Naemi.
The president said that the college offers over 50 different programmes including master's, bachelor's, diploma and certificate. “The three new master’s programmes are from the School of Health Sciences and from the School of Business and Information Technology. Each master’s programme will have 15 students each and the demand is so high that we have to go through a strict and rigourous screening programme. The admission criteria consist of interview and language proficiency in English among others. The master’s programmes in pharmacy and radiography are particularly in very high demand,” he pointed out.
According to Dr Al-Naemi, CNA-Q, over the last 20 years, has graduated over 7,000 graduates who play a major role in the nation-building process of Qatar.
“CNA-Q has adopted a curriculum that is aligned with skills and knowledge required worldwide. Our alumni, both nationals and expatriates, are very well contributing rich knowledge to the industry and they are with both the government and private sector. Some of them are working in their own countries either running their business or working, while majority are working in Qatar. Most of them are working in the energy industry, health sector or the IT sector,” he said.
As for expanding the programmes of the institute, the president said that it is done according to the needs of the country and the industries. He said: “We are very much aligned with Qatar National Vision 2030 and mindful of the national requirements. We really design and align our curriculum for our graduates to be market ready. While we are focusing on the applied and technical programmes, many of our programmes have social or community service elements embedded in them, especially in the health science programmes.”
As CNA-Q is an applied technical college, Dr Al-Naemi noted that it is very important to have physical classes for the students for hands on experience. "There are several programmes that need the presence of students in the college. For this academic year, we are planning for blended learning with 50% capacity of student population on campus. We will allow the most required students for on campus learning such as students of Schools of Health Sciences, Engineering as well as some students of Information Technology.”
“The rest will be taught online and all the exams will be on campus. We are committed to observe all the Covid-19 protocols and follow the directions of the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. Over 95% of our staff are vaccinated and we have taken all the measures to face the Covid-19 situation,” added Dr Al-Naemi.