Egypt: New Report Highlights Suppression of Academic Freedom
Human rights lawyers in Egypt have compiled a report outlining continual and systematic constraints on academic freedoms that plague higher education system. Faculty members face travel restrictions, in some cases bans, must jump through bureaucratic hoops. Moreover, the Ministry of Higher Education now has the authority to nominate university officials. The ministry has interfered with student activities as well, imposing restrictions on student government activities, including elections and financing. The report urges the government to scale back on these restrictions and champion the autonomy of higher education institutions, it remains to be seen if they will heed this call.
May 23, 2017
United Arab Emirates: Quality Focus in Ras al-Khaiman
Ras al-Khaimah, one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is cracking down on non-accredited institutions in its academic free zone. There are three federally accredited institutions in Ras al-Khaiman, but many others in the free zone operate without any quality assurance or guarantees. In response, some institutions have closed, while others, including those with parent institutions in Pakistan, India, Switzerland and elsewhere, are seeking to meet new accreditation requirements or changing their names to reflect the fact that they are businesses not accredited educational institutions.
The National UAE 
Saudi Arabia: Universities Dominate Best Regional Universities List
Times Higher Education recently released “the top universities in the Arab World 2017” using data from their annual World University Rankings. The top three universities are in Saudi Arabia with UAE and Qatar taking the fourth and fifth spots respectively. The curriculum at these universities and many others on the list is geared towards the STEM fields. While Egypt didn’t nab a top spot, the country is the most represented on this list with 8 universities. There are four Saudi universities on the list and Jordan, UAE, and Morocco each have three institutions that made the cut.
Times Higher Education 
May 16, 2017