WENR, August 2007: Middle East


Students from the Region Increasingly Studying in New Zealand and Australia

Universities in New Zealand and Australia are recruiting students from the Middle East much more aggressively than in the past, and judging from enrollment numbers, their efforts are paying dividends, especially as those students continue to face difficulties securing U.S. student visas.

In 2002, New Zealand’s eight universities enrolled fewer than 50 Middle Eastern students. Today, some 1,800 students from Saudi Arabia alone are enrolled at those institutions. Most are there to study English, but approximately 20 percent are enrolled in full-time degree programs. Administrators at the Auckland University of Technology [1] are forecasting upward of 2,000 applications from the Middle East over the next six months, and they anticipate enrolling approximately 25 percent of those students. Frances Little, director of the university’s International Student Centre [2], told the Chronicle of Higher Education that interest shown by Arab students “is off the wall.”

In Australia over the past four years, enrollments from the Middle East have almost tripled, to 7,000, making Australia the third-largest destination for students from the region, according to government figures. Many students from Saudi Arabia are beneficiaries of a $1-billion scholarship fund established to send students overseas.

Two main reasons account for this growth: the unprecedented level of scrutiny that international students coming to Britain and United States now face, and growing awareness in many Middle Eastern countries, particularly the wealthy Gulf States, that they need to do a better job educating their youth. And the solution for many is to send students overseas.

The Chronicle of Higher Education [3]
August 17, 2007


EU, Egypt Working to Improve Egyptian Research

The European Union has agreed to provide EUR 11 million in funding to support a four-year technology and knowledge exchange between science researchers and institutions in Europe and Egypt, focusing on development in areas such as biotechnology, information technology, renewable energy and health. The agreements stemmed from the inaugural Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Education and Research, at which a declaration was adopted for the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean area for higher education and research.

Egypt will be the first Arab country to sign an agreement of this sort with the EU, providing access points for Egyptian researchers and institutions to collaborate with their European counterparts in scientific areas of mutual interest. In addition, Egypt could be used as a model for other Arab Mediterranean countries to follow the Cairo Declaration launched during the meeting calling for: the development of a Euro-Mediterranean university forum, participation in a Euromed scholarship scheme, enhanced mobility in the Euromed region, as well as the integration of the Mediterranean partner countries in the European Research Area.

Europa [4]
July 11, 2007


College Declares Itself a ‘University,’ Authorities Decide Otherwise

The College of Judea and Samaria in Ariel [5] declared itself a ‘university center’ in August despite comments from senior officials on the Council for Higher Education (CHE), which regulates and supervises the Israeli higher education system, stating that the self-promotion would be opposed. Universities receive much more state funding than do colleges, and are also entitled to confer doctorates.

In June, the college said that it had all the permits necessary to become a university, and had met the directives of the CHE in Judea and Samaria, an independent organization that supervises higher education in the territories . The main directive was to open four master’s programs. After the college opened an MBA program in June – its fourth graduate program – it proceeded to declare itself a university. If accepted, the college would be the first Israeli university to be established in 34 years and the first ever founded in a settlement.

However, the heads of the Council for Higher Education and the council committee responsible for the budgets of academic institutions sent a letter to members of the committee and the higher education council in August instructing them to ignore correspondence from the institution in which it refers to itself as the Ariel University Center of Samaria. The council is now demanding that the college “immediately cease” using the term “university center,” and make public its return to using the term “college.”

– Haaretz
August 10, 2007


International Enrollments Continue to Increase

A total of 24,699 foreign students enrolled at Jordanian universities in the 2006/2007 academic year compared to 23,053 in 2005/2006, according to Higher Education Ministry figures. Of this number, 13,066 studied in private universities, and 6,686 were female.

Ministry Secretary General Turki Obeidat told the Jordan Times that he attributed the increase to institutional reputation; diverse program specializations; and a modern, yet conservative community, coupled with greater security and political stability than in other countries in the region. He added that minimum admission rates for Arab students are 10 marks lower than those required of Jordanians.

Arab students constitute the majority of foreign students, according to the figures, with a total of 6,202 Palestinians, 2,866 Syrians, 2,725 Saudis, 1,702 Kuwaitis, 1,720 Omanis and 1,423 Iraqis. Among private universities, the Applied Science University [6] had the largest international enrollment at 3,522, while the Jordan University of Science and Technology is the number one overall destination for international students, enrolling 4,226 students last year.

Jordan has 10 public universities, 15 private universities, and 50 community colleges. Over 200,000 students are enrolled at the undergraduate level, 17,000 in masters programs and 3,000 are pursuing PhDs. In addition, there are 26,000 students working towards two-year degrees at community colleges.

The Jordan Times [7]
August 21, 2007

Saudi Arabia

Nation’s Newest University Forging International Cooperation Agreements

Saudi Arabia’s newly established King Abdullah University of Science and Technology [8] (KAUST) has signed cooperation agreements with the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai [9], France’s Institut Français du Pétrole [10], U.S.-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution [11] and the National University of Singapore [12] in recent months to collaborate in research programs, graduate education and technological development.

– Arab News
August 9, 2007

United Arab Emirates

Boston University Dental Research Institute to Open Center in Dubai

Boston University [13] announced plans in late July to offer selected dental education programs in Dubai. A new institute, to be managed by officials of Boston University’s School of Dental Medicine, will conduct research and also offer master of science in dentistry degrees in a variety of specialties, and some certificates for advanced training in dentistry. All of the degrees are for those who already have a doctorate in dentistry. The institute will be located in Dubai Healthcare City, which is also home to other international partners such as the Harvard Medical School, Mayo Clinic, AstraZeneca [14], and the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery [15].

– Gulf Today
July 30, 2007

Over 85% of High School Graduates in Dubai Apply to University

The emirate of Dubai has extraordinarily high levels of university applications among high school graduates with 80 percent of male and 95 percent of female graduates applying to institutions of higher education locally or abroad. This is according to the contents of a speech at the 10th Arab-German forum in Berlin by Ayoub Kazim, Executive Director of Knowledge Village [16], Dubai’s international multi-institution campus.

Dr Kazim told the Kaleej Times that he attended the forum in Germany to develop ties with European academic institutions and Arab investment groups and businesses based in Germany.

– Khaleej Times
July 21, 2007