WENR, October 2017: Middle East
UAE: New Strategy to Improve Higher Ed Sector
The UAE recently announced the launch of a new National Strategy for Higher Education 2030, with the goal of prioritizing education as a means to stimulate innovation and economic growth. The plan with be implemented and sustained through 33 strategic initiatives focusing on: standardizing the system, building global partnerships, encouraging transparency, establishing new regulatory systems, implementing career training, allocating funding for research and bridging the gap between universities and the private sector.
Region: A Call for Higher Education Reform in the MENA Region
A new report by the World Bank highlights the necessity of educational reform in the Middle East and North Africa in light of high illiteracy and unemployment rates. The report outlines measures to improve the region’s standing, including prioritizing quality education, teaching critical thinking skills, re-training teachers, and integrating job training skills into curricula to equip students for success in the job market, and fill the large skills gaps that plague many countries in the region. Despite dire findings, there is encouraging evidence that Arab countries are working towards gender parity in education.
Region: Efforts to Address Challenges Refugee Scientists Face
It is no surprise that refugee scientists face major hurdles when trying to find work after fleeing their countries. This spring, a meeting to address the issue was organized by the World Academy of Sciences, Italy’s National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics, and the Euro-Mediterranean University of Slovenia; SciDev.Net recently interviewed several participants in the forum for insights into the challenges refugee scientists face. The consensus is that there is a need to: identify locations of displaced researchers, and their respective areas of expertise, connect these scientists with organizations in host countries and comprehensively support their integration. These coordinated efforts must be a result of strategic international partnerships; until then, forum participants fear too many refugee scientists will languish in diaspora, facing unemployment or being forced to take low-paying jobs that don’t utilize their skills.