WENR, April 2013: Middle East


Reform Initiative Calls for 60 New Universities in a Decade

Under a 10-year higher education reform plan recently launched by the Egyptian government, 60 new universities would be created in the country by 2023, under an overarching goal of reforming higher education and promoting the development of a knowledge-based economy.

The strategy, announced by Minister of Higher Education Mustafa Musaad, was outlined in a February report published by Ahram newspaper. Currently, the country has one of the lowest numbers of universities per capita in the Middle East and North Africa, according to a report, Science and Innovation in Egypt [1]. The plan calls for the creation of 20 state and 40 private institutions. Currently, Egypt has 18 public universities and 17 private universities, enrolling approximately 76,000 students.

In addition to state spending increases on education, the reform plan also calls for the creation of a national council for education and research that would be tasked with improving the performance of universities and drafting educational strategies and reform plans.

University World News [2]
February 23, 2013

Decree Calls for Creation of a Sino-Egyptian University

Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi issued a decree In February to establish the Egyptian Chinese University in the capital Cairo – the first Chinese university to be set up in the Middle East and North Africa region.

The Sino-Egyptian university would be the first of 60 new universities the president aims to create under a 10-year higher education plan aimed at reforming the sector and promoting the development of a knowledge-based economy. The project would be a joint venture between Liaoning University [3], Shenyang – responsible for curricula and quality assurance – and Egypt’s International Education Institution, which would take care of the university’s infrastructure.

In addition to four faculties – economy and international trade, physical therapy, pharmacy technology and medicine, and engineering and technology – the university will be home to a Confucius Institute promoting Chinese language and culture.

Currently there are three Chinese campuses overseas, according to the report Chinese Universities Abroad. Jiangsu’s Soochow University opened to undergraduate students in the Laotian capital Vientiane in 2012; the University of Ningbo (also Jiangsu) opened a campus in the Italian town of Florence in 2012; while also last year Jinan University offered a two-year MBA through Myanmar’s Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

University World News [4]
March 2, 2013

United Arab Emirates

UAE Defined as a ‘Talent’ Hub in Proposed Schema of Hub Classifications

So what exactly is an education hub, and are they all the same? Jane Knight, a scholar at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, has published research [5] on six hubs to answer the question of whether they are fads, brands, or innovations?

Knight has proposed a schema for classifying hubs, based on their desire to be three main things: Student hubs, which seek to attract local and foreign students; talent hubs, which seek to develop the skilled people who will stay in the country; and knowledge hubs, which seek to build research infrastructure.

Knight classifies the six hubs she studied as follows, both with their current category and what she thinks the country aspires to see its hub become.

Country Year Hub Started Number of International Branch Campuses Current Classification ‘Aspirational’ Classification
Qatar 1995 10 Talent Knowledge
Singapore 1998 18 Knowledge Unclear
United Arab Emirates 2003 37 Talent Talent and knowledge
Malaysia 2007 7 Student Knowledge
Botswana 2008 2 Student Talent
Hong Kong 2008 4 Student Talent

While education hubs will continue to evolve, they represent an important “third stage,” according to Knight. The first was student mobility, with students leaving their homes for a postsecondary education. The second was institutional mobility, when colleges set up dual degrees or branch campuses in other countries. Hubs involve the first two stages, but take them to a new level, she said.

Inside Higher Ed [6]
March 6, 2013

Saudi Arabia

U.S. Top Study Destination for Saudi Scholarship Students

According to data recently released by the Ministry of Higher Education, 46 percent of Saudi students currently abroad for higher studies under the King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship Program [7] are in the United States.

A total of 69,235 are in the United States under the program from a total of 149,742 Saudis worldwide. Other popular regions and countries include universities in the Arab world, which have received 16,364 students, the United Kingdom (14,459), Canada (13,801), and Australia (8,789).

The report details the specializations chosen by the scholarship students, with 49.2 percent studying sciences, technology or engineering majors, while 36.1 percent have chosen to study social sciences, business and law. Agricultural studies and humanities comprised the smallest percentages, accounting for 2.8 and 2 percent respectively.

Arab News [8]
March 5, 2013