WENR, November 2011/December: Middle East


Higher Education Reforms in the Works

According to plans announced by the government in October, Iraq plans to rebuild its higher education system by giving financial and administrative independence to universities, establishing specialized institutions and allowing foreign universities to open branches in the country.

The ministry would look to bring back Iraqi talent from abroad and encourage international cooperation in implementing the reforms. The specialized universities will be established near to natural resources, and a virtual university will also be launched.

The initiatives were outlined in a new three-year higher education reform plan (2011-14) and it focuses on developing the quality of education, accelerating scientific development and producing a skilled workforce. As a step towards implementing the plan, IQD18 billion (US$15 million) has been allocated to initiatives including support for graduate research and for scientific centers and units associated with universities. Also in October, USAID submitted to the Ministry of Higher Education a US$150 million proposal for administrative reform in 2011-15, which will include universities.

University World News
October 15, 2011


New Research Centers to Entice Israeli Scholars Back Home

An estimated 1,500 Israeli scientists and researchers have left Israeli universities in recent years to join top academic institutions overseas. In a bid to reverse this trend, the Education Ministry has said it will establish 30 special institutes that will offer academics excellent conditions for research and – according to the plan – lure them to return home.

Most researchers that have emigrated have done so because of funding cuts at home and attractive research offers for positions overseas, including generous scholarships, competitive salaries and advanced research facilities. Almost a quarter of foreign academics in the United States are now from Israel.

According to the Education Ministry, the key is not the salary but rather the research facilities. Many researchers said that they would be willing to return to Israel and even give up better pay out of loyalty to the country and to be closer to family and friends.

The establishment of the 30 new centers has already begun and will continue to take place over the next six years. Fifteen Israeli researchers have already returned to begin work in four new centers.

October 30, 2011


Foundation to Establish Branch Campuses Around the World

The Peninsula reports that the Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah Al Thani Foundation for Humanitarian Services (RAF) hopes to establish universities in countries around the world. These would be similar to a project in Nairobi Kenya where construction just began for the RAF International University.

Dr Yahya Al Nuaimi, Chairman of scientific council for RAF University, said that the RAF International University in Nairobi is just the start of a series of strategic scientific projects of RAF and that similar universities will be set up in China, Europe and Latin America.

The Peninsular
October 10, 2011

Saudi Arabia

Seven New Colleges Approved

Saudi officials have announced that King Abdullah has approved the creation of seven colleges. The new institutions will include two medical colleges, three business-related colleges, a computer science college, and a college of arts and sciences.

The new colleges will be established in Tabuk (college of business), Hail (business of administration), Baha (college of computer science and information technology), Hafr Al-Baten (college of business administration) and Asyah, Qassim (college of arts and science). The two medical colleges will be in Shaqra and Dawadmi under the University of Shaqra.

Arab News
October 18, 2011

Posted in Middle East, Regional News Summaries