WENR, November/December 2002: Middle East
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UNESCO to Open Educational Training Institute
UNESCO will open the region’s first educational training institute in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The institute, scheduled to open in September, will be located in Sharjah. Awad Salah, secretary general of the national commission for UNESCO in the UAE, said the institute will serve the whole region and will offer training in school administration and schools.
— Gulf News
Nov. 16, 2002
Pending Legislation to Allow Foreign Universities
Parliament has approved legislation that would allow foreign universities to open branch campuses in the country for the first time since the Islamic revolution, in 1979. The bill is currently under review by the Council of Guardians, which determines whether legislation violates Islamic principles. The council is expected to approve the measure.
The proposal seems to have broad support from conservatives and liberals alike. Conservatives see it as a way of keeping talented Iranians from leaving the country to attend universities abroad. Liberals view it as an increasing sign of openness toward the West.
According to government officials, inquiries have so far come from universities in Australia, Great Britain and Cyprus. The legislation would not exclude U.S. institutions.
— The Chronicle of Higher Education
Nov. 7, 2002
Research Institute Closed
The Ayandeh Research Institute has been closed and its head, Hussein Qazian, and director, Abbas Abdi, have been arrested. The arrests are connected with the September publication of a poll in which the majority of Tehran respondents favored a resumption of Iran-US relations.
— Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty
Nov. 4, 2002
University of Latvia Degrees Under Scrutiny
Israeli branch campuses of the University of Latvia and the American Burlington Academy have both come under fire recently after criminal investigations found that the two institutions frequently granted fraudulent degrees.
Now a third university, no longer operational, has also been accused of handing out fake degrees. The Israeli branch of the University of Humberside and Lincolnshire operated in Israel for about five years and ceased teaching around three years ago. The university is now suspected of granting fake degrees in education. The police have begun an investigation.
— Ha’aretz Daily
Oct. 2, 2002
Oct. 30, 2002
Roadblocks Promote Distance learning
Birzeit University near Ramallah on the West Bank has had a slow start to the new academic year. The previous academic year had barely ended, having been extended through the summer to give students, shut out of the university by roadblocks, extra classes, when the new academic year, scheduled to begin Sept. 16, had to be postponed due to roadblocks and, more recently, strikes over pay. Staff at the university have received only half their wages since January.
Despite good relations between staff and administrators, life on half wages has become tougher and tougher, according to the university’s chief communications officer, Riham Barghouti.
Barghoutti said the strike situation has been resolved, with both sides understanding the school’s financial situation and with both being aware that education is as important as ever in the current climate.
However, just as classes were set to resume, the Israeli army dug up the road from Ramallah to Birzeit, making it inaccessible to vehicles. The army also established a checkpoint that severed the last transport link to the university.
The university has come up with a number of solutions to the problem, such as faculties dividing the week in two, so two lecturers can share one apartment close to the university for half a week each; and faculty outposts being set up in lecturers’ garages in Jerusalem and Ramallah. Exams have had to be staged two or three times a year to allow all students to take them, and the university has enthusiastically employed the Internet to establish distance learning.
Birzeit students come from all over the West Bank, so distance learning has become a major part of the university’s mission – of the 4,400 students who registered last month, 3,300 registered online. The university is trying to raise funds to set up video conferencing between the university and points in Jerusalem and Ramallah.
— Education Guardian
Oct. 16, 2002
The United Arab Emirates
Ajman University Wins Accreditation
The Academic Accrediting Authority of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has accredited 14 educational programs and specializations at the Fujairah campus of Ajman University of Science and Technology.
The accredited programs are: information systems, computer science, computer engineering, business administration, accounting, administration, education methods and techniques, Arabic language and Islamic studies pedagogy, methods and techniques of teaching mathematics and science, teaching English as a foreign language, English language and translation, communication and translation, pharmacology, media and information and dentistry.
— Gulf News
Oct. 14, 2002
Japan, UAE to Exchange Faculty, Students
Fukui University in Japan and Al Ittihad University of the United Arab Emirates recently signed an agreement allowing for faculty and student exchange.
Student exchange will be at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Faculty exchange will include collaboration on scientific research projects.
— Gulf News Online
Nov. 15, 2002
Medical School Opens
The Weill Cornell Medical College-Qatar, a component of the ambitious Education City planned by the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, formally opened Oct. 6, 2002. The celebration marked the beginning of classes for 27 students enrolled in the first semester of the two-year pre-medical program.
The pre-medical students are taking the same science courses as pre-medical students at Cornell University. After completing the Qatar program, the students will be required to take the Medical College Admissions test (MCAT) and apply to the school’s four-year medical program. The graduates of that program will receive the same medical degree received by graduating Cornell students in New York. The four-year program will start in 2004 and will graduate its first students with the MD degree in 2008.
The Education City campus already houses Qatar Academy, The Learning Center, Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, the Academic Bridge Program and other facilities. In addition to the existing facilities, plans are afoot for a museum, several sports facilities, a mosque, a conference and exhibition hall, a central library, a student center, a new building to house the Qatar Foundation headquarters, a research institute and a science park, in addition to residential and recreational facilities for staff and students.
John Georgopoulos, manager of the project, envisions a campus that will house branch campuses of some of the world’s leading universities in different areas of higher education. He said the Education City site will cover more than 3 million square feet.
— The Peninsular
Oct. 6, 2002