WENR, January 2008: Middle East
US and Iraqi Law Schools Sign Groundbreaking Agreement
The University of Baltimore’s School of Law and the University of Tikrit School of Law, located in Saddam Hussein’s hometown have signed the first formal partnership between law schools in the two countries, officials announced in November. Under the agreement, UB law students might one day study in Iraq. However, for security reasons, the first step will more likely be to bring Iraqis to Baltimore for graduate legal study and research. The Tikrit law school has approximately 700 undergraduate students enrolled on its four-year legal program.
UB officials say they hope that Iraqis who have completed basic legal training will soon begin enrolling in the Master’s of Law program at the school’s Center for International and Comparative Law. The one-year LLM program is designed for foreign lawyers who want an education in U.S. law.
–The Baltimore Sun
November 29, 2007
Government Withdraws Arabic from Core Curriculum
Israel’s Ministry of Education made public recently that it will be withdrawing Arabic from its compulsory core curriculum. Previously, secular and religious state schools had to teach three hours a week of Arabic in Grades 7 and 8. Ministry officials said the decision was motivated by an effort to create a curriculum acceptable to ultra-Orthodox schools. The same reason was cited for the reduction of the number of core instruction hours which are to be devoted to mathematics, English and sciences. Some ministry officials lamented the decision to exclude Arabic, saying it sends a negative message regarding the need to integrate Israel’s Arab minority and expose its culture to Jewish pupils.
January 18, 2008
Australia Gaining Appeal vs. US for Arab Students
Facing increased scrutiny from immigration authorities in the United States, a generation of Arab men who once attended college in the United States, and returned home to become leaders in the Middle East, increasingly is sending the next generation to schools elsewhere. This year, Australia overtook the United States as the top choice for citizens of the United Arab Emirates heading abroad for college, according to UAE government figures.
Ten percent fewer students in the Emirates elected to go to the United States in 2006 than in 2005, according to figures published by the Institute of International Education. In neighboring Oman, the drop was 25 percent. Jordan, Kuwait and Lebanon recorded single-digit falls, continuing a trend begun amid the crackdowns on visas and security that followed the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
In Australia, meanwhile, the number of Arab and Iranian students has climbed from 2,580 in 2002 to 7,122 in 2006, according to Australia’s Education Department. For Australia, the numbers are the product of campaigns aggressively seeking the post-9/11 Arab and Muslim market, from tourism to higher education.
– The Washington Post
Classes Start Three Months after Scheduled Semester Start Date
Classes resumed in Israel, January 20, after a three-month faculty strike that was days away from causing the entire semester to be written off. Universities plan to extend the semester to eliminate the summer break, thereby allowing for a full academic year. Faculty will receive a 24 percent pay raise, over two years, under the agreement signed with the government to end the strike.
Reform plans to dramatically increase tuition fees, which would help cover faculty pay increases, are still pending and offer the possibility for further disruption to university schedules. Students undertook a nationwide strike in the spring semester of last year after the plans of the Shochat report were released.
– Jerusalem Post
January 20, 2008
Durham, Qatar Strengthen Academic Ties
Qatar University and Durham University signed a memorandum of understanding in January to strengthen academic ties between the two institutions. The memorandum will strengthen research links between the two universities, initially in international relations and Islamic studies but extending also into education, geography and environmental sciences, law, finance and energy.
– The Peninsular
January 15, 2008
Quarter of Government Budget Allocated to Education
Unveiling the Kingdom’s largest ever budget in December the government has earmarked a total of US$27 billion for education and training from a total budget of $120 billion. Saudi leader, King Abdullah said more than a quarter of the new budget has been set aside for human resource development including higher education and technical and vocational training.
“The budget will also boost scientific research and technological development,” the king said referring to financial allocations made for new research centers at universities. Special allocations have also been made to train teachers, develop academic curricula and improve education infrastructures, with more than $10 billion set aside for building schools, universities and training centers and institutes. The king also disclosed plans to establish a number of new hospitals, health centers, medical colleges and university hospitals.
– Ministry of Education
December 11, 20007
New Saudi Research University Appoints Inaugural President
The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia’s much anticipated $10 billion university, announced the appointment of its first president, Choon Fong Shih. Mr. Shih, currently president of the National University of Singapore (NUS), takes on the task of developing from the sand up what the Saudi government hopes will become one of the world’s leading research institutions. The university, known as Kaust, is scheduled to open in September 2009.
Until recently, Saudi Arabia spent less than a quarter of 1 percent of its gross domestic product on scientific research. King Abdullah provided $10 billion of his own money to start the new institution, making it the sixth richest university in the world even before it opens. Despite the institution’s wealth, Mr. Shih will face the difficult challenge of recruiting top faculty members to one of the most socially conservative countries in the world, and balancing the freedom and openness required for a world-class research university with the more traditional forces in Saudi society.
Kaust officials hope that Mr. Shih will achieve similar results in Saudi Arabia as he did in Singapore, where he was able to transform NUS into one of the world’s top 50 universities by building global networks for the university and links with industry. His support for revenue-generating research and his work with the Singaporean government on economic development will be helpful in accomplishing one of the new university’s stated goals of helping to diversify the Saudi economy away from dependence on oil, as well as creating new jobs for the 30 percent of Saudi youth who are currently unemployed.
– The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 13, 2008
United Arab Emirates
French University to Open in Dubai
Dubai Education, a subsidiary of Emirates Investment and Development, announced in November that it will partner with France’s Université Lumière Lyon 2 in establishing L’Université Française de Dubai. The new university campus will be located centrally in Dubai and is expected to begin classes in the upcoming academic year. Université Lumière Lyon 2 already has a collaboration agreement with the Canadian University of Dubai (see December issue), which was the first venture of Dubai Education.
November 27, 2007
“Academic Medical Center” to Host Harvard Medical School
Dubai Healthcare City, in January launched Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Academic Medical Centre, a huge academic education complex comprising multiple institutions, at the heart of which will be the state-of-the-art University Hospital, slated to open in early 2011. The other medical education facilities in the complex are Harvard Medical School Dubai Centre Institute for Postgraduate Education and Research, Al Maktoum Harvard Medical Library, and Dubai Harvard Foundation for Medical Research.
– Gulf Today
January 22, 2008