WENR, July/August 2016: Middle East
UAE: Quality of Higher Education Sector in Doubt
A new paper calls the quality of the UAE’s higher education system “debatable” in terms of research capability, the quality of instruction, and student recruitment. UAE has only three public universities; the first is only 40 years old. An additional 75 are private higher education institutions are “mostly profit-driven” say critics. Transnational partnerships contribute to a problematic glut of supply for a relatively small population. Dubai alone is home to some 30 branch campuses from countries including Australia, the UK, and India. Researchers also say a grade- rather than skills-focused culture hurts the sector.
Turkey: Post-Coup Purge Targets 1,500 University Deans
Following Turkey’s recent attempted coup, the Turkish government demanded the resignation of 1,500 university deans. Countermeasures implemented in an attempt to identify opponents and quash dissent have reportedly affected more than 50,000 people, including 15,000 education workers and 21,000 teachers.
Iraq: Displaced Students Seek to Continue Studies
Ongoing conflict in Iraq has created complications for many Iraqi students, causing some schools to close and many students to abandon their studies. According to Iraqi government estimates, around 1.2 million students have been displaced in the face of ISIS’s control of a large portion of the country. Some universities have sought to accommodate affected students. These efforts create new, albeit lesser, complications, as students try to adjust to instruction in unfamiliar languages and education systems.
UAE: Ministry of Education Cracks Down on Universities
Three UAE universities were placed on a year-long probation by UAE’s Ministry of Education when they failed to meet licensing and accreditation standards. The three institutions were Al Hosn University in Abu Dhabi, the University of Jazeera, and the University of Modern Sciences in Dubai. The universities cannot admit new students during the probationary period; students already at the universities will not be affected.
Algeria and Egypt: Leaked Test Materials Lead to Arrests
Authorities in Egypt and Algeria may send those responsible for recent leaks of standardized test materials to prison. More than a dozen Egyptians implicated in cheating scandals have been arrested. Some 560,000 students were affected by a recent incident. Digital media has made cheating simpler: Members of several Facebook groups have disseminated the questions free of charge in what they claim is a stand against the current university placement system. Algerian officials have seen a similar increase in fraud, and plan to station thousands of extra guards and implement advanced phone jamming devices to crack down on the cheating.