WENR, June 2018: Middle East

Morocco: Student Groups Accuse Government of Involvement in Student Deaths

Student groups have accused the Moroccan government of sponsoring violence due to the handling of student deaths during recent political clashes at Moroccan universities. Student groups cite the Moroccan government’s failure to investigate and arrest perpetrators despite available video evidence as an indication of involvement. The Moroccan government has denied any wrongdoing, and aims to increase access to social services and facilitate communication with students to ease any tensions.

University World News [1]
May 31

Qatar: New Joint Program with Morocco Aims to Improve Education in Region

Qatar and Morocco have announced a new higher education cooperation program, which includes plans to establish a new joint institution in Rabat as well as a cross-border campus in Doha. The plans come as part of a push from the Qatari government for further internationalization, outlined in the nationwide strategy Vision 2030, and could help the Qatari education system overcome lasting negative effects of the Arab blockade.

University World News [2]
May 25

Iran: Currently Home to 55,000 International Students

Attracting international students has long been a goal of the Ministry of Science, as well as a goal of universities looking to generate revenue through tuition fees. There are currently 55,000 international students studying in Iran, and 23 Iranian universities made the 2018 Center for Science and Technology Studies Leiden Ranking of 1,000 major universities worldwide.

Tehran Times [3]
May 25

Morocco: Graduate Unemployment Problem Sparks Calls for Reform

Student numbers in Morocco have risen significantly over the last eight years, increasing from 308,000 in 2009-10 to 822,000 in 2017-18. This rapid growth feeds into a worsening graduate unemployment problem as Morocco’s labor market struggles to support so many graduates. Unemployment concerns have led many to call for universities to impose limits on student numbers in subjects with poor graduate outcomes, as well as increased English language teaching within science disciplines.

Times Higher Education [4]
May 10

Syria: Cultural Stigma Against Vocational Degrees Hinders Refugee Employability

Among young Syrian refugees there is a damaging cultural stigma against technical and vocational degrees. That’s according to Allison Church, regional director for the Middle East at Kiron Open Higher Education. The stigma, which Church says is prevalent across the entire region, is leading students to neglect considerations of employability when selecting degree programs, and instead select over-saturated fields like engineering and medicine, which are perceived as prestigious. Church has called for increased higher education opportunities in fields with high employability, like agriculture, construction, and textiles.

Times Higher Education [5]
May 3