WENR, May 2014: Middle East
U.S. Government Opens Door to Academic Exchanges With Iran
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control in March issued a general license authorizing academic exchanges between the United States and Iran, and allowing Iranian students to participate in U.S.-based massive open online courses.
Under a document it released on Thursday, Iran General License G, accredited American colleges and universities are permitted “to establish and operate undergraduate and graduate academic exchange agreements with Iranian universities, including the provision of scholarships to participating Iranian students,” according to a notice on the department’s website. The Office of Foreign Assets Control is the agency responsible for administering economic sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy.
The document also permits individuals in Iran to sign up for and participate in undergraduate-level online courses, including MOOCs. The question of access to MOOCs in Iran arose in January, when Coursera, a top provider of such courses, said U.S. sanctions had forced it to block students in penalized countries, including Iran.
– Wall Street Journal
March 20, 2014
Government Launches Innovation Park Initiative
Libya has launched a technology and innovation parks initiative aimed at encouraging links between universities, research institutes and the technology-based private sector.
The technology and innovation parks initiative is in line with post-revolution efforts to improve Libya’s research sector and deal with the low achievements and outputs of its universities and research centers as reflected in the Africa Competitiveness Report 2013.
Out of 144 countries, Libya ranked 136 in math and science education, 133 in university-industry collaboration, 129 in innovation, 122 in the quality of research institutions, 118 in availability of scientists and engineers, 110 in technological readiness and 103 in higher education and training.
The initiative is tasked with enhancing the development, transfer and commercialization of technology, and facilitating the setting up of innovation-based companies with universities and research centers through incubation and spin-off processes.
According to the Libya Herald Nurredine Shamakhy, director general of the Libyan Authority for Research, Science and Technology, said that the technology and innovation parks department would study the world’s top 10 examples and “adopt one as the prototype to follow.”
– University World News
April 4, 2014
King Abdullah to Establish 3 New Universities Through Mergers
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has ordered that three new universities be established in the towns of Jeddah, Bisha and Hafr Al-Baten.
Higher Education Minister Khaled Al-Anqari said that branches of King Abdulaziz University in north Jeddah would be merged with colleges in Khulais and Kamil to form the new Jeddah University, which will have a total of 18 colleges and institutes.
The new Bisha University will bring together the Bisha branch of King Khaled University and other colleges in neighboring principalities such as Namas, Balqarn, Sabt Al-Ulya and Tathlith, the minister said, adding that it would have a total of 13 colleges.
Hafr Al-Baten University will be created from branches of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) and Dammam University in Hafr Al-Baten. It will have 12 colleges.
Once the mergers have been completed, it will bring the number of public universities in the Kingdom to 28, up from a reported seven in 2005. Government officials believe a further 10 new universities are required within the next five years to meet demand from a growing population.
King Abdulaziz University currently has 140,000 enrolled students, despite originally being designed to accommodate 50,000 students. The new Jeddah University is being established to help ease the pressure on King Abdulaziz University.
– Arab News
April 3, 2014
UK Education Consortia to Establish 12 VET Colleges
Four UK education consortia have won contracts worth US$1.35 billion to establish 12 technical and vocational training colleges in Saudi Arabia as part of the government’s Colleges of Excellence program. This brings the total number of colleges run by UK providers under the program to 16 of the 37 already established to date.
The four contracts were awarded to The Oxford Partnership, a consortium comprising Activate Learning, GEMS Education Solutions and Moulton College; Lincoln College; Hertvec, a consortium led by Hertford Regional College; and FESA, a consortium of UK colleges and training providers.
The agreements were coordinated by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) Education as part of the UK’s International Education Strategy. As a joint venture of the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation and the Human Resources Development Fund, the Colleges of Excellence program aims to improve education and training in Saudi Arabia by establishing over 100 colleges. The three-year diploma programs will include training in IT, communication, basic sciences and English language, before moving onto specialization and on-the-job job training.
The new colleges, opening in September 2014, will cater to some 24,000 Saudi students every year, including 14,000 women. The Oxford Partnership will manage a cluster of three women’s colleges in the north of the country, in the towns of Al Jouf, Arar and Qurayyat.
– The PIE News
April 15, 2014
United Arab Emirates
Dubai’s International University Hub Launches Recruitment Campaign in China
Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) has embarked on its first China-specific recruitment campaign in its push to develop the international branch campus hub as a top higher education study destination.
Launched in 2007 by TECOM Investments, a member of Dubai Holding, DIAC currently hosts 21 branch campuses enrolling some 20,000 students of 125 nationalities. DIAC is keen to make the UAE competitive with leading destinations like the USA and UK, according to top officials interviewed by PIE News.
Expanding into untapped markets is high on the DIAC’s agenda. Officials say the tour around China was “very successful and promising” as students learned they could both study and work in English. Recruitment campaigns have already been introduced in Eastern European markets including Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan.
DIAC sets itself apart from its competitors to by offering degrees and certifications from top institutions at lower prices, according to PIE News.
– PIE News
April 16, 2014