WENR, June 2013: Middle East
Free Ivy League Education – Now in Arabic
Courses from the world’s top universities, including Stanford and Duke, will soon be available free in Arabic thanks to an initiative involving hundreds of volunteers from the United Arab Emirates. Coursera, an online education company launched in the United States last year by two Stanford professors, offers courses in English from dozens of leading institutions.
It has teamed up with the volunteer translation initiative Taghreedat, which will produce Arabic versions of some of the courses. Taghreedat’s 1,000 translators, writers and editors in the UAE – along with 8,000 more in dozens of countries – began work on translating the online courses in May.
The first two programs to be translated will be a Stanford mathematics course and a course covering sociology and psychology from Duke. Both should be completed by September, with several more expected to follow by the end of the year.
– The National
May 19, 2013
Half of All Internationally Taught Arab Ph.D.s Remain Abroad
Eighty percent of Arab graduate students are currently studying at institutions outside of their home country, and about half of those students will not return home after graduating, if historical trends hold true. The low rate of return is especially troubling for the North Africa region, and across the Arab world the low return rates result in annual losses estimated at more than US$2 billion.
The Arab world has 470 universities and educational institutions catering to 400 million people, roughly translating to 1.2 institutions for every million people, according to a November 2011 Arab research strategy. There are about nine million students, 10 percent of whom are in graduate studies.
“The more expatriates acquire skills and obtain higher degrees abroad, especially graduate-level degrees, the less they are likely to return,” stated a 2012 report, Determinants and Consequences of Migration and Remittances: The case of Palestine and Tunisia.
Studies have indicated that the emigration of intellectuals from the Arab world accounts for about a third of the total brain drain from developing countries to the West. Arab countries also lose half of their newly qualified medical doctors, 23 percent of engineers and 15 percent of scientists each year, with three-quarters of them moving to the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. This makes Western countries the greatest beneficiaries of 450,000 Arabs with scientific qualifications.
– University World News
May 25, 2013
A Promising Market for International Students
The Israeli study abroad market is “growing and still untapped,” the US Commercial Service in Tel Aviv told The PIE News recently, a claim that the news outlet says is backed up by foreign universities and Israeli international education professionals.
Commercial Specialist Alan Wielunski made the comments at a student fair in Tel Aviv in April, run by the agency UStudy. “For the past 10 years I’ve been working in this sector and there really hasn’t been that much interest on the part of US schools to come to Israel,” Wielunski said. “This is despite the fact there is a tremendous pool of potential students that are mature and ready to start studying, as opposed to traditional markets where recruiters come and meet with high school students.”
Traditionally Israel has been a hard market to crack. The exact number of Israelis studying abroad is unknown as many hold duel nationality and can study abroad on non-Israeli passports, however some suggest around 14,000 – low for a population of eight million. The United States, the top destination, welcomes around 2,700 to its universities although rates are low in Canada (485), France (400) and the UK (300).
Andrea Lang-Raz, director of Yeda Plus, an Israeli test preparation center where demand doubled this year, says that “a thirst for internationalism” is changing the student mindset, which has favored high-quality, affordable domestic institutions with proximity to family.
– The PIE News
April 30, 2013
Hebrew University Builds Stronger Ties in China
The president of Hebrew University of Jerusalem led a delegation to China in early May, where the university signed several agreements, including a cooperation agreement with Peking University to establish a Confucius Institute, a Chinese government-funded center for Chinese language and cultural education that will be the second in Israel, after Tel Aviv University opened one in 2007. Also in attendance at the signing ceremony was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Nethanyahu.
The university also expects to sign an agreement with a donor who has committed $8 million for scholarships for Chinese students. The delegation also visited Fudan University and Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, and Peking University, Renmin University and Tsinghua University in Beijing.
– Israel 21c
May 8, 2013
Ministry of Education to send 10,000 students abroad
The Libyan higher education system suffers from overcrowding and poor teaching standards, a fact that has prompted the government to send thousands of promising students abroad to complete their studies.
The Education Ministry said recently that it will send a further 10,000 students to foreign universities in the coming years, with state education institutions being asked to nominate students and staff. Decisions had already been made for 5,692 students, including 2,004 faculty members already holding masters degrees, according to ministry officials, as well as 3,616 “top students” who will now complete their masters qualifications abroad. The selected graduates are studying a range of disciplines, including science and medicine.
– Libya Herald
May 7, 2013
Higher Education Develops Rapidly
The Saudi government has allocated more than US$44 billion of its budget to higher education and workforce training – an increase of 13 percent over last year – as it implements a plan to achieve goals outlined by Khaled Al-Anqari, the minister of higher education, in a statement released at an international higher education conference held in Riyadh in April.
According to official data, the number of Saudi universities has quadrupled in recent years. There are now 33 universities, with a goal of 40 within the next 25 years. These new universities have greatly enhanced the training capacity of the higher education sector. Saudi Arabia now has about a million students in universities distributed in all 77 regions and governorates, compared to just 5,000 at one university (Riyadh, now called King Saud University) and seven colleges in 1969. In addition, a national commission of academic accreditation has been established to accredit public and private universities.
The government’s higher education strategy includes the allocation of US$16 million for 439 specialist programs to develop research skills and proficiency among lecturers, and for a further 35 programs to be organized in cooperation with major international universities. Furthermore, about 148,000 scholarships have been provided to Saudi students for graduate studies abroad in more than 20 countries. Currently, more than 80 percent of faculty members at Saudi universities have received overseas training.
– University World News
May 4, 2013
United Arab Emirates
Graduate Job Expectations Need to Change to Reverse Unemployment Trends
Be realistic when looking for your first job and seek out a workplace where you have opportunities to grow. This is the advice being given to thousands of graduates who will join the job market this year. Youth unemployment in the Middle East is the highest in the world at more than 25 percent, and the UAE is not immune.
To create the 100 million jobs required in the region by 2020, experts say a concentrated effort is needed by private companies and governments to change graduates’ expectations and perceptions, and link them to employers early.
Mindsets must change when it comes to job preferences, said Soraya Salti, regional director of the Mena chapter of Injaz Al-Arab, a non-profit organization that aims to improve youth employability skills. “There is a huge knowledge gap when it comes to understanding the labor market,” she said. “The youth are making the wrong career decisions, perhaps guided by society or parental pressure.”
She said the draw towards government jobs needed to be addressed first. “In Middle East countries, between 50 and 92 percent of the youth look for government jobs. They are unaware of what the private sector has to offer.” For this to change, the private sector needs to be brought to the classroom. “It requires a step-up by corporates, effective campaigns targeting the youth,” Ms Salti said. Kathryn Taylor, student experience officer at Heriot-Watt University in Dubai, believes the gap between student and employer expectations can be bridged through guidance programs.
– The National
May 19, 2013