WENR, January 2012: Middle East
Governments Work on Grants for Iraqis to Study in the U.S.
With the withdrawal of American combat troops from Iraq, the U.S. State Department and Iraqi government are beginning to step up efforts to enroll thousands of Iraqi students in American universities.
The number of Iraqi students studying in the United States was up 45 percent in the 2010-11 school year, according to recent data from the Institute of International Education. Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has earmarked $1 billion to be spent on education initiatives over the next several years, part of which will go towards funding scholarships for 2,500 students to attend U.S. universities in 2012. The new scholarship scheme is expected to increase fourfold the number of Iraqi students in the U.S. from 616 in 2010-11.
While the Iraqi government has begun pouring money into education, the State Department has launched an outreach effort to identify some of Iraq’s brightest students and connect them with American universities, reports USA Today. Recruiters from 22 American universities attended a college fair sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in October in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil. They met with nearly 1,500 students, most of whom were already approved for Iraqi government-funded scholarships.
The State Department also assisted Iraq’s Ministry of Education in getting ready to hold a major conference in Washington in January to recruit American universities to bring students to U.S. campuses.
– USA Today
December 11, 2011
University College London Readies Doha Campus
There are six American universities and one French business school operating programs as part of Qatar’s Hamad bin Khalifa University (formerly Education City), the Gulf state’s attempt to create a world-class institution in Doha, and now University College London is getting ready to join them.
From August 2012, enrollment will begin for master’s programs in archaeology and museum studies. Recruitment for international branch campuses in the region has long been a problem, but given the history of the region, UCL thinks it will be able to attract the quality of academic needed to build a credible center of research.
So far, four faculty members are on campus, and later this year two Ph.D. students will fly in to join them, and they will be followed by three to five more in the course of the year. Over the next 12 months, the plan is to expand the number of research staff to eight, in addition to three postdoctoral students. All staff costs are covered by the Qatar Foundation and the Qatar Museums Authority.
UCL-Q will enroll about 16 students for two-year M.A. programs, half studying archaeology of the Arab and Islamic world and half doing conservation and museum studies. The plan is to recruit 24 students in 2013-14, making a 40-strong student body, which should rise to 150 by 2015.
Numbers at the U.S. institutions involved in Hamad bin Khalifa University remain modest. At Northwestern, 47 students from 18 countries entered as the 2011 cohort, and Georgetown enrolled 77. At Texas A&M, which teaches engineering, 94 enrolled the year before, and at Carnegie Mellon there are 398 students, largely in business administration, computer science and information systems.
– Inside Higher Ed
December 15, 2011
International Branch Campuses Collaborate Under a Single Umbrella
Last year, the Qatar Foundation linked the international branch campuses that operate in the learning hub known as Education City under an overarching institution, the Hamad Bin Khalifa University, which is run along the lines of an Oxford/Cambridge college system, and now the universities are beginning to integrate academic provision. Universities have a semi-autonomous status but will employ increasing numbers of Qatari faculty and begin to integrate academic provision.
Education City hosts US universities Northwestern, Carnegie Mellon, Weill Cornell Medical College, Georgetown University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Texas A&M, which teach accredited degrees to the same syllabus and standards as in the U.S. using expatriate or visiting faculty. In addition to the U.S. universities in Qatar, University College London is getting ready to start classes (see above), while HEC Paris established a branch campus in Doha in February and immediately recruited 32 part-time MBA students, a mix of Qatari and expatriate business managers.
“At Education City we are creating an umbrella organization with four multi-disciplinary schools, each run by a dean,” says Dr Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, the university’s president and vice president of the Qatar Foundation. “We are also creating a faculty of Islamic studies offering Islamic finance, architecture, art and foreign policy, taught in Arabic and English.”
Graduate provision is increasing as undergraduate programs mature, and the limited range of degrees is a reflection of the region’s economic priorities: business, finance, medicine and petro-chemical engineering.
– The Independent
November 17, 2011
United Arab Emirates
Opportunities Exist in the Private School Market
Private sector enrollment in the UAE, valued at $2.8 billion and growing at 10 percent per annum, is among the region’s largest education sectors. The business of education in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is growing fast and also getting more expensive.
According to a report from research organization Booz and Company, “private-school enrollment is expected to grow significantly in the GCC countries in the next decade, but governments and investors must overcome several key challenges in order to capitalize on the opportunities this will present.”
Private education represents about 14 percent of the GCC’s $36 billion education market. The report calls for governments to clarify the regulatory environment, ensuring that rules are stable and consistently enforced, to ensure quality, fair tuition and increased investment in the sector. According to research by Parthenon Group, the UAE in particular has broad appeal from a private investor standpoint.
“With Western-branded higher education institutions in the UAE growing 18 percent per annum, and UAE parents increasingly favoring international curricula at the school level, the opportunities for Western-branded schools to outperform the market are significant,” Parthenon Group said in its report.
This, combined with a turnover of $160 million among schools offering Indian curricula and growing demand from South Asian parents, makes the UAE education sector ripe for investment. The study identified $5 billion worth of investment opportunities in education in the UAE and Saudi Arabia alone. However, challenges exist, including a shortage of qualified teachers both regionally and globally and particularly in international and Western curricula schools. Land ownership is another challenge: Most GCC jurisdictions restrict foreign land ownership, requiring prospective private-school operators to go through the relevant private-sector regulator.
– Gulf News
December 11, 2011