WENR, September 2011: Middle East

Universities from Region Perform Well in New Shanghai Ranking

While the top-ranked institutions in the 2011 Academic Ranking of World Universities [1] remained largely in place, there was a fair degree of shuffling lower down in the tables, with universities from the Middle East faring particularly well.

Hebrew University of Jerusalem [2] moved up to 57 from 72, primarily because a 2010 Fields Medal was awarded to mathematics Professor Elon Lindenstrauss. The Shanghai ranking uses Fields Medals and Nobel Prizes among academics as one proxy for institutional research strength.

The Academic Ranking of World Universities rates more than 1,000 universities worldwide but only publishes the list of the top 500. It uses six indicators: the number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals; number of highly cited researchers selected by Thomson Scientific; number of articles published in Nature and Science; number of articles in the Science Citation Index-Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index; and per capita performance with respect to the size of an institution.

King Saud University [3] in Saudi Arabia appears for the first time in the top 300 institutions, while Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals [4], Turkey’s Istanbul University [5] and Iran’s University of Teheran [6] moved into the top 400. In 2003, there was only one institution from a majority-Muslim country that made the ranking, while this year there were six. Cairo University [7] and Universiti Malaya [8] are also in the top 500.

Shanghai JiaoTong [9]
August 15, 2011


Major University Reforms Announced: Greater University Autonomy, Fewer Places

Under the 2012-2015 Higher Education Action Plan, the Kingdom’s public universities will be given the autonomy to set their own admission criteria, while the overall number of student places is to be cut, in a bid to improve quality standards.

Students will able to submit applications directly to the university, and not through the Unified Admission Committee affiliated with the Ministry of Higher Education [10] as is currently the case. In addition, admissions will be based on more than just grades achieved on the centralized admissions test, or Tawjihi, which is currently the deciding factor for most public universities. Admission will also be supported by pre-admission examinations and interviews.

Some universities have already started implementing this criterion for certain subjects, including veterinary studies. Students wishing to study architectural engineering can apply directly to universities starting in 2012. Autonomy over admissions will be phased in gradually for other disciplines.

The ministry has also stated that it will be reducing the number of students who enter university and redirecting demand to the polytechnic sector. Currently, 90 percent of candidates who are successful on the Tawjihi are enrolled in universities, as is their right. The ministry plans to reduce that number to 60 to 70 percent.

Jordan Times [11]
August 15, 2011

United Arab Emirates

Middle East, and UAE in Particular, See Huge Growth in International Schools

According to ISC Research, a company which maps the world’s international schools, the Middle East was responsible for two-thirds of global growth in international primary and secondary schooling in 2010/11, a year which saw a record number of schools and a record number of enrollments.

The leading cities for international schools are Dubai with 175 schools, Doha with 101 international schools, Bangkok with 100 international schools and Karachi with 99. In Dubai alone, 143,661 students study in international schools taught by 11,453 English-speaking teachers.

Just over 50 percent of schools in the UAE use an English curriculum, with 22 percent following an American-based curriculum, and 19 percent following an international curriculum such as the International Primary Curriculum (IPC).

The growth of international schools in Dubai and the UAE has been significant. In the year 2000 there were 97 international schools in the UAE teaching 77,000 students. By 2009, this had increased to 251 international schools teaching 174,600 students and today there are 357 international schools in the UAE teaching 302,300 children.

Khaleej Times [12]
September 14, 2011

Consortium of German Universities Helps Launch Logistics College

A German-partnered college designed to meet the region’s growing need for logistics experts was launched in September in Abu Dhabi in collaboration with the Higher Colleges of Technology [13].

The German-UAE College of Logistics, which is a joint venture between HCT and a consortium of three German Universities, was officially opened in Abu Dhabi in front of an audience that included the German Ambassador to the UAE Mr Frank Newmann, newly selected students, industry experts and college officials.

The three German universities are the Technical University of Applied Sciences, Wildau [14]; the Bremen University of Applied Sciences [15] and the Jade University of Applied Sciences [16]. The College of Logistics will offer a joint German/UAE four-year Bachelor of Engineering (Logistics Management) and also a Masters of Engineering.

HCT News Release [17]
September 13, 2011