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Article
Publication date: 12 March 2018

Carrie Amani Annabi, Amanda L. McStay, Allyson Fiona Noble and Maha Sidahmed

High levels of absenteeism have been observed amongst male students attending two transnational higher education (TNHE) institutions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). One…

Abstract

Purpose

High levels of absenteeism have been observed amongst male students attending two transnational higher education (TNHE) institutions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). One reason offered is an obligation to attend engagement ceremonies. Many ceremonies are linked to arranged marriages. The purpose of this paper is to contradict assumptions that suggest that higher education reduces arranged marriages, and to highlight that university policies overlook cultural nuances.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 male postgraduate students aged between 22 and 45. Content analysis was used to analyse and interpret the data.

Findings

Several interviewees chose to have an arranged marriage and some saw their postgraduate studies as an opportunity to have a better chance of securing a wife. Equally, several students felt that university policies were unsympathetic to cultural obligations.

Research limitations/implications

This research was restricted to male students from two TNHE institutes in the UAE.

Practical implications

This research provides insight for TNHE managers by providing student-centric research into cultural reasons that prevent student attendance.

Social implications

TNHE is not fully responsive to familial obligations within collective societies. In consequence, there has been a lack of sympathy within policies regarding students’ requirement to fulfil cultural commitments.

Originality/value

The paper explores the challenges of creating culturally sensitive educational policy and practices.

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 32 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

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