WENR, March 2017: Middle East

Saudi Arabia: 1/3 of University Students Never Make it to Graduation

In 2016, there was a thirty percent drop out rate among Saudi university students, according to data released by the Ministry of Education. This could, in part, be due to a growing mismatch between educational training and the demands of the labor market. While the greatest need is for jobs requiring specific vocational and technical training, only about four percent of students are on this specialized career track.  At the same time, many students are focusing on specializations that don’t fit the needs of the labor market, and universities are not changing their curricula to redirect their paths. To fill resulting job vacancies, the county has turned to recruiting foreign workers. The skills gap will likely continue to disincentivize Saudi students until something is done to align university curriculum with labor demands.

Thomson Reuters Zawya
March 6, 2017

Egypt: Knowledge City to Increase STEM Research

In order to address a disparity between mainly non-scientific university training and the demands of an increasingly knowledge-based economy, Egypt has committed to building a Knowledge City east of Cairo. Slated to be a focal point of the new administrative capital, Knowledge city will take up about 430 square miles and will comprised of over a dozen branch campuses of foreign universities (offering mainly STEM curricula), and centers for research, innovation and entrepreneurship. Programming is slated to being at the end of 2018, though completion of the entire “city” will take at least 7 years.

University World News
February 17, 2017

Jordan: Students and Universities Clash Over Tuition Hikes, Quality

In light of recent tuition increases at Hashemite University in Jordan, students have been engaging in protests requesting a reduction in fees and the option of payment plans. Ibrahim Obaidat, who was suspended last November for organizing the student opposition, has gained notoriety for his outspoken opposition to the fee hikes and “the repression of activists, and marginalizing and weakening the role of student councils in calling for quality education”. Echoing this sentiment, a representative from National Campaign for Students’ Rights fears that Jordanian universities will continue to raise tuition and systematically silence dissent resulting in limited access to and quality of higher education.

Al-Fanar Media
February 14, 2017


Posted in Middle East, Regional News Summaries