WENR, January 2007: Middle East and North Africa
Editorial Note: Web links have been removed from this page due to outdated third-party web content.
Middle East and North Africa
Kingdom to Establish “Higher Education City”
The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) announced in December that it has reached a financing agreement with Kuwaiti investors to establish a multi-purpose campus for specialist studies and research in the Kingdom. The development, which will be known as Higher Education City, is slated to include a full branch campus of a top US university, an international center for research and studies, and a specialist academy. Those involved in the project hope to train local and regional manpower in developing the skills demanded by the Gulf labor markets. Training offered at the new campus will therefore center on the technical, business and management disciplines demanded by the energy sector. Not unlike Education City in Qatar and Knowledge Village in the United Arab Emirates, those involved with Higher Education City hope to attract students not only from Bahrain, but also from across the region by providing educational opportunities of an international standard to those unable or unwilling to travel to Europe, America or beyond. The EDB is currently in the process of working to attract universities and specialized education providers, according to media reports.
— Trade Arabia News Service
Dec. 25, 2006
Gulf Nations Home to 30% of International Branch Campuses
According to a recent report, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar are home to about 30 percent of international branch campuses worldwide, half of which are run by US institutions of higher learning. The report, “The International Branch Campus — Models and Trends,” by the Observatory of Higher Education defines a branch campus as a degree-granting operation run by the home institution alone or through a joint venture with a local partner. The Observatory found 82 such campuses, up from 24 in 2002. Most were located in developing nations. Those in the oil-rich Gulf nations have been attracted by millions of dollars in investment incentives. Singapore, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, and China were also among the most common places where such degree programs have been set up.
— The Chronicle of Higher Education
Universities Shuttered After Mass Kidnapping
After the abduction of 150 professors and education officials from the Higher Education Ministry in Baghdad in November all universities in the Iraqi capital have been closed indefinitely. The abductions were the boldest in a series of killings and other attacks on Iraqi academics that are prompting thousands of professors and researchers to flee to neighboring countries. The murder of a university dean and a prominent Sunni geologist in November brought the death toll among educators to at least 155 since the war began.
— Agence France Presse
Nov. 15, 2006
Innovative Reform Initiative to set Standards for the Region
After a successful pilot phase at 100 “discovery schools,” the Jordan Education Initiative is set for implementation at all schools across the country. Centered on enabling teachers and learners through the innovative use of information and communications technology, the initiative seeks to improve the development and delivery of education while also promoting social and economic progress and public-private partnership. Launched on the sidelines of the 2003 World Economic Forum meeting, the initiative also aims to build the capacity of the local information technology industry for the development of innovative learning solutions in partnership with world-class international firms. Another major objective is to help the country build a model of educational reform that can be exported to and replicated in other countries.
— The Jordan Times
Nov. 22, 2006
100,000 Foreign Students by 2020
In a region awash with hydrocarbon riches, Jordan has to make do without; therefore government officials are hoping their higher education system will help draw income and talent from richer neighboring states. The government is investing in higher education to improve science, technology and scientific-research programs at its 10 public and 13 private universities in hopes of improving not only its own human capital, but that of its neighbors, whose students already find Jordan a popular place to study thanks, in part, to the country’s reputation as a safe and open place for foreign college students. Another reason is quality: Jordan invests a higher percentage of its gross domestic product in education than any other country in the Arab world, according to Jordanian government officials. One-third of its education expenditures go toward higher education. It contributes about US$73 million each year to its state universities, or about one-fifth of those universities’ operating costs. Tuition fees paid by foreign students make up a large part of university budgets too and it is for this reason that the government announced in April a desire to attract 100,000 international students to the kingdom’s colleges by 2020. No mean feat considering there are just 20,000 currently enrolled and 192,000 students in total. The Palestinian Authority, Iraq, Oman, Yemen, and Egypt are the most strongly represented nationalities among foreign students. One way Jordan plans to absorb additional students is through several new private universities. Last year ground was broken for the construction of a new American-style university in Aqaba as well as the new German-Jordanian University of Applied Sciences, in Ma’daba, which will follow a German curriculum.
— The Chronicle of Higher Education
Oct. 6, 2006
US Universities Put on Recruiting Fair
Eighteen American institutions of higher education participated in a university fair in Kuwait this past November to advertise their services to Kuwaiti students contemplating studying abroad. Institutions attending the event included community colleges and well-respected four-year universities such as the University of Miami and New York University. The number of Kuwaiti applicants for student visas to study in the U.S. has jumped 19 percent in the last two years.
— Kuwait Times
Nov. 11, 2006
German University to be Established
An agreement to establish the Omani-German University for Technology was signed in late December between private backers and Germany’s University of Aachen in a ceremony attended by the Omani minister of higher education. The new private university will be located in the capital Muscat with a target of enrolling an inaugural class for the September 2007 semester. According to officials quoted at the signing ceremony the project follows Royal directives to encourage and support the creation of private universities in the sultanate.
— The Times of Oman
Dec. 28, 2006
Private Universities Encouraged, Being Built
Oman’s ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, has given his backing and encouragement to the establishment of private universities. Currently the small oil-rich nation has one state-run university — the Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat — and a private university based in Sohar. At least three more privately owned universities are in various stages of development in the southern Dhofar governorate, the interior Dhakhliya region and Muscat. For some years now, the government has been encouraging the private sector to complement its own efforts and cater to the rising number of secondary school graduates. The Sultan gave his backing at the opening of the Council of Oman in November.
— Khaleej Times
Nov 15, 2006
Qatar U. and Louisiana U. to Partner
The College of Arts and Sciences at Qatar University will receive funding worth $300,000 aimed at developing links with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The grant was made under the 2006 US-Middle East University Partnership Initiative. The partnership will start in spring 2007, run for three years and include students and faculty exchange. Cooperation efforts will focus on global communications. As part of the project QU will establish a new digital media center.
— Qatar University News
Nov. 8, 2006
Student Visa Process for Saudis on U.S. Scholarships Streamlined
The United States Embassy in Riyadh has taken measure to expedite the student visa process for Saudi students applying to study at U.S. universities and colleges. As a result of a mutual agreement between the two nations, 10,000 Saudi students will receive scholarships in 2006/07 to study in the U.S. Although the scholarship program was announced many months ago, the first recipients were not named until late November. In a bid to fast-track the entry of scholarship holders to US universities, the embassy in Riyadh has implemented a no-wait interview policy for those seeking a student visa through the program. Once a student chooses the institutions they wish to apply to, there are five required steps towards applying for a student visa.
— Arab News
Nov. 20, 2006
United Arab Emirates
Cooperation Agreement Signed Between Local College and Canadian College
Abu Dhabi’s Al Khawarizmi International College has signed an articulation agreement with Canada’s University College of Fraser Valley. The tie-up will enable students who have successfully completed two years at KIC to transfer to UCFV’s Bachelor of Computer Information Systems course for a further two years before attaining their degrees.
Nov 12, 2006
Knowledge Village Tours Down Under
A four-member delegation from Dubai Knowledge Village visited seven universities in four cities of Australia and New Zealand in November to sell the benefits of opening a branch campus at the multi-university facility in Dubai. The delegation’s itinerary included visits to the universities of Queensland, Auckland, and New South Wales.
— AME Info
Nov. 5, 2006
Officials Visit Jordan for Accreditation Training
Officials from the Yemeni Ministry of Higher Education recently visited their Jordanian counterparts to learn about the operation of that country’s Council of Accreditation. The delegation discussed the possibility of Jordanian experts aiding Yemeni development of an independent accreditation body.
— Jordan News Agency
Nov. 12, 2006