Redefining Higher Education: An Interview with Dr. Hasan Almulla, President, University of Technology Bahrain


Behind every successful education innovation is a problem-solving leader. From supporting their staff and inspiring a positive culture to envisioning the best outcomes for students – education leaders are at the core of creating enriching learning experiences. As part of Gulf Insider’s Excellence in Education Leadership series, we converse with Bahrain’s leading educators, highlighting their stories, their impact, and the steps they have taken to improve the quality of education for students in the Kingdom.

How would you describe the role of an education leader?

The main goal of an education leader is to make sure that the institution achieves the objectives it has set by bringing people together towards a common goal. Particularly, the role of a leader in a higher education institution is to produce people who could contribute to the prosperity of the economy and the country.

What influenced the desire to change the identity of the institution and create UTB?

Following the acquisition of the university in 2020-21, it wasn’t appropriate to retain its name, AMA as it was part of a different education system. At the time, we needed a new identity to reflect the direction that the university was about to take. The name, “University of Technology” was not difficult to come up with because technology was at the core of development in so many fields, given the economy today. Whether it’s engineering, business, law, or education, technology is central to every field. Having said that, we also know that technology isn’t a fixed thing; it keeps evolving at an unprecedented rate. We as an institution must keep up and make sure our students are fit to join any industry they choose to work in.

Why should students choose to study at UTB?

Our curriculum and pedagogical approaches are appealing to many students. Our timings are very flexible; we operate 13 hours a day, from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Working professionals find it easy to schedule their classes in the evening or at night so they can be full-time employees and full-time students simultaneously. Ours is perhaps one of the most affordable universities on the island.

Most of our programs are internationally accredited by ABET, the European Council, and perhaps soon, the AACSB. We offer some unique programs that others in Bahrain still don’t. For example, the Bachelor in Environmental Engineering is highly relevant in today’s world. We’ve got a very modern campus located perfectly for students whether they’re from Bahrain or Saudi and it’s accessible to all students including those with special needs.

How does UTB plan to support students with placement opportunities?

The process begins before graduation. Our programs have industry-specific advisory boards who understand the relevance of the programs and call the shots in terms of developing them to make sure they fit the labour market. We have a very strong relationship with the alumni and they help in providing opportunities for our students.

We also have an excellent rapport with major industries in Bahrain which we leverage to place our students in some of the best companies country-wide. While they’re pursuing their courses, students engage in industry-level projects to familiarize themselves with what’s happening in the real world. These experiences pave the way for opportunities in the professional world, making it easier for them to get placed once they finish their education.

How do you ensure high standards of quality education at UTB?

Classrooms are integral to quality education. If you can ensure that whatever happens in the classroom is of high quality, then you can ensure the quality of your graduates. For classrooms to remain the space of high quality we ensure our faculty are developing themselves professionally and the learning material is top-notch.

We must make sure that the teaching methodologies adopted in the classroom aim to deliver the best and cater to all sorts of learning styles of the students, whether it’s by reading, watching a video, or through projects. The students are part of the process and must be engaged in a way that their skills are developed to thrive in the professional world.

The assessment also needs to be robust and produce quality graduates. It’s a continuous process that involves every stakeholder – teachers, students, administrators and a lot of investment. At the helm, it requires good leadership.

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