Regional News, August/September 2013, Mideast

Iran

14,000 International Students in Iranian Universities

According to Iran’s minister of science, research, and technology, Kamran Daneshjoo, there are 14,000 international students currently studying at Iran’s universities, and efforts are underway to attract as many as 25,000 by 2015.

“The improvement of the quality of universities has paved the way for the enrollment of foreign students. Fourteen thousand foreign students from 92 countries are currently studying at Iran’s universities. And if we include the 12,000 foreign students studying at Al-Mustafa (International) University, a total of 26,000 foreign students are studying at higher education institutions in the country,” Daneshjoo said in a speech at a graduation ceremony of a number of foreign students of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, which was held in July, Farheekhtegan, an English weekly reported.

According to Hossein Seyyed-Mousavi, a deputy president of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, most of the foreign students studying in Iran are from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, and Turkey. Iranian news agencies quoted Hassan Moselmi Naeini, the head of the science ministry’s general bureau of scholarship and overseas students affairs, as saying in April that 55,686 Iranian students were studying abroad.

“Out of this number, 8,883 students are studying in Malaysia, 7,341 in the United States, 5,638 in Canada, 3,504 in Germany, 3,364 in Turkey, 3,228 in Britain, and the rest in other countries.”

– Tehran Times
July 11, 2013

Departing President to Establish New Technology University

Citing an Iranian news website, the Associated Press is reporting that outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been given permission to establish a technology university in Tehran now that he has left office.

The conservative tasnimnews.com says Ahmadinejad received authorization from the country’s Supreme Cultural Revolution Council to set up his university. It said the ‘‘Iranians University’’ will focus on information technology, nanotechnology, aerospace and nuclear science.

Associated Press
July 27, 2013

Kuwait

Government to Award 4,500 Overseas Study Scholarships

Kuwait’s ministry of higher education is to award Kuwaiti students 4,500 scholarships to study abroad in the 2013-14 academic year. The scheme is designed to improve training among Kuwaitis in fields aligned with the needs of the labor market.

The grants can be used at top universities in 13 countries, although details of these are yet to be published. Majors will be chosen to reflect public and private sector needs; physics, chemistry and mathematics are among those already flagged for backing.

More than 2,000 Kuwaitis enrolled at UK universities in 2011 – up considerably from the mid 2000s – while 3,722 attended US institutions in 2012, up from 2,998 in 2011, a rise of 24 percent.

PIE News
July 22, 2013

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Academic Publishes New University Ranking System

An assistant professor at the King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Dr Nadim Mahassen, recently published a new and somewhat unusual ranking of world universities.

According to the results of the first assessment, 57 U.S. universities feature in the top 100 (with eight of the top 10), followed by six from England (two in the top five) and Japan, five from France, four from Canada, Israel and Switzerland, two from Australia and Germany, with another 10 countries hosting one top-100 university.

The Canadian-born mathematician produces the ranking through his independent Center for World University Rankings.  He claims that the center publishes the only global university performance tables that measure the quality of education and training of students as well as the prestige of faculty members and the quality of their research “without relying on surveys and university data submissions.” He describes the methodology in a six-page commentary.

In his commentary on other ranking systems, Mahassen says some rely mainly on research indicators while others place a great deal of emphasis on opinion-based surveys: “Up to now, there has been no ranking measuring the quality of the learning environment as well as research without relying on surveys and university data submissions.”

The seven indicators include quality of academics as measured by the number who have won major international awards, prizes and medals; publication of research papers; influence as measured by the number of papers in “highly influential journals;” citations by the number of highly cited research papers; patents; alumni employment, according to the number currently holding CEO positions in the top 2,000 public companies; and quality of education “as measured by the number of a university’s alumni who have won major international awards, prizes, and medals relative to the university’s size.”

University World News
July 4, 2013

Canadian College to Operate Saudi Polytechnic

Algonquin College, an Ottawa-based institution, will take over operations of a new branch campus in Jazan, a coastal city in Saudi Arabia’s southwest region, under a public-private partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Technical and Vocational Training Corp. Previously, Algonquin provided curriculum and faculty to Jazan Economic City Polytechnic, a government-run institution at the same campus.

“This new partnership will rename the existing campus the Algonquin Jazan College of Excellence,” Algonquin stated in a news release, “and see Algonquin manage all campus operations including staff and student recruitment, program development and delivery, quality assessment, college services, and facilities maintenance.”

According to a TVTC mandate, the campus will be male-only; Algonquin was unsuccessful in winning a separate bid for a female-only campus. At capacity, the campus is expected to host 2,000 students and bring in annual revenues of more than US$25 million. Profits would be used for “college services and infrastructure,” Algonquin stated.

Algonquin expects to offer 10 programs in areas ranging from business, to construction engineering, to technician positions in fields such as facilities and architecture. Classes begin in September. Algonquin also has campuses in China, India and Montenegro and plans to open one in Kuwait in 2014.

The Ottawa college is one of five international institutions selected by the Saudi Arabian government to manage 10 colleges. According to Algonquin, the government is spending $1 billion in “a new polytechnic education model” that includes “hands-on, applied education.” The pilot program is expected to attract 110,000 students and could be expanded to 450,000 if successful. The four other international institutions managing college campuses are: TQ/Pearson (UK), Laureate International (US), Mondragon (Spain), and Nescott (UK).

Ottawa Business Journal
July 15, 2013

United Arab Emirates

Higher Colleges of Technology ‘Emiratising’ Senior Faculty Positions

Five expatriate directors of branches of the Higher Colleges of Technologies in five different jurisdictions within the United Arab Emirates have been replaced by UAE nationals as part of the country’s ongoing process of “Emiratisation.”

Mohammed Al Shamsi, HCT chancellor, said the appointments reflected directives by the country’s leadership to promote and support Emiratisation, the appointment of native workers versus foreign workers. Expatriate directors are still in charge at two of HCT’s campuses, while the total Emirati workforce across all campuses stands at 10 percent.

The National
June 27, 2013

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