Volume 16, Issue 3
Education in Romania
Education Reforms Aided by Training in England
A British-led consortium has won a lucrative contract to train future managers of Egypt’s ambitious educational reform project. More than 600 Egyptian education managers will be trained in northeast England and a further 900 in Egypt.
The program, headed by Northumbria University, is funded by the European Union and will be run in conjunction with Newcastle University, human resources consultants The Hay Group and Aim Shams University in Cairo. It will have a central role in Egypt’s education enhancement program, which aims to create reformist managers capable of bringing about improvements to the quality of teaching and standards of education in Egypt.
Times Higher Education Supplement
Degree in Human Rights Established
The United Nations Development Programme has assisted the Faculty of Law and Political Science at the University of Tehran to establish postgraduate degree courses in human rights, and also to establish the Centre for Human Rights Studies. The facility, which also functions as a national think-tank on human rights, was inaugurated in January 2001.
In its first academic year (2002-03), 12 students enrolled for the master’s degree course. The UNDP-supported project is a starting point for the agency to initiate more work on the issue of human rights at the national level. Plans are to initially focus on women’s and children’s rights, according to students in the program.
German University Opens Contact Office in Tehran
In April, the University of Kassel opened its new contact office in the Iranian capital, Tehran. The office is serving as an information and advisory board for Iranian students and researchers interested in studying at Kassel.
The university believes the new office, and others like it, are worthwhile in countries that are interested in developing closer working ties with German universities. For years, Iranian students have been one of the largest groups of international students in Kassel.
Early Contracts for Reconstruction of Iraq’s Educational Infrastructure Awarded
The Agency for International Aid (USAID) announced an initial US$62 million contract on April 11 to help meet immediate educational needs in Iraq and “promote participation of the Iraqi people in a sustainable, decentralized educational system.” Child-centered, participatory teaching methods will be introduced to lay the foundations for democratic practices and attitudes among students, parents and teachers, according to a USAID news release, which goes on to say, “The U.S. government’s goal is to ensure that children are prepared for the new school year beginning in September 2003.”
The contract was awarded to an international consulting firm, Creative Associates International. The firm will implement the USAID education assistance program, dubbed Revitalization of Iraqi Schools and Stabilization of Education (RISE), with the help of five subcontractors. The program is a rapid-response effort to increase enrollment and improve the quality of primary and secondary education through short-term immediate impact activities, which will lay the foundation for more sustainable reform. Short-term activities will include development of baseline indicators to measure educational progress, and processing and distributing essential school materials, equipment and supplies.
The issue of new textbooks has not yet been addressed, but USAID decided to put out separate request bids for instructional materials. The agency has set the ambitious goal of getting new textbooks in schools by September to start the school year in Iraq. The earliest goal, set for July, is for the contractors to assess conditions in 2,500 of Iraq’s 25,000 schools.
Prior to the Iran-Iraq War and the Persian Gulf War, adult literacy in Iraq was 81 percent. Today, it is 53 percent, and a third of girls do not go to school. Only 20 percent of all children go on to secondary school. In addition, there has been a devastating brain drain from higher education -- those who have monitored higher education in Iraq say an estimated 30 percent of the country’s professors have fled.
A daunting task was set in motion April 11 for Creative Associates and its U.S.-based private and nonprofit subcontractors. The results of these early contracts may serve as a litmus test for U.S.-led rebuilding efforts in Iraq and how serious the United States really is about Iraq’s future.
Agency for International Aid news release
Hebrew University Boosts Recruitment in Latin America
A new report reveals that 53 percent – 69 total -- of new university students in Israel from Argentina were enrolled at Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2002-03. Twenty-eight other Latin Americans were also enrolled at the school this year.
These numbers are a result of special efforts being made by the university, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency and the Student Authority, to interest Latin American Jews in coming to Israel to pursue higher education.
Ministry Encourages Applications for New Universities
Twenty-five potential universities have submitted applications to the Ministry of Higher Education for consideration as part of an official strategy of making higher education accessible to more citizens.
According to Safwan Tell, director general of the Accreditation Council at the ministry, higher education officials want more universities in areas that are not well-served, and for schools to offer courses in areas of study that are actively needed in the job market.
Tell pointed out, however, that “we are not willing to make the kingdom a place for marketing higher education as a commodity. These applications need to be studied seriously.”
Jordan already has approximately 12 private universities and eight public universities. Despite the high number of applications, some in the higher education community don’t expect more than a handful to be approved. According to Tell, King Abdullah wants Jordan to excel in areas such as computer science and business administration.
Universities require two types of government accreditation to operate: General accreditation and accreditation of each area of study.
Lebanese International University Opens
The popularity of U.S. ideals might be a matter for debate in the region, but in Lebanon, U.S.-style education continues to be popular.
In March, Lebanese International University formally opened. The private, nonprofit institution is based on the U.S. model and offers classes in English.
The institution, with planned campuses in Beirut and Khiyara, began classes for 400 students last fall. It is expected that the next academic year will see enrollment triple, and the university hopes to eventually reach a capacity of 30,000 students by attracting Arab students from around the region and Lebanese emigrants, especially those from Latin America.
Chronicle of Higher Education
Mediterranean Business School to Open
Four Mediterranean business schools are teaming up to launch the Euro-Mediterranean Business School, to be based in Casablanca, Morocco’s main business center.
The new institution will start providing short courses for executives this September, followed by an executive MBA in 2004, and a full-time MBA in 2005. It aims to provide management training with input from Europe, tailored to the specific needs of Morocco and the North African region.
The initiative is led by a Brussels-based business school network, the European Foundation for Business Development, with input from Al-Akhawayn University, Esade of Spain and the French business schools HEC and Ceram.
The choice of Morocco as a venue for this new venture and the involvement of the French and Spanish business schools and backers is no coincidence. France and Spain are the biggest foreign investors in Morocco, and commercial links among the three countries are set to grow.
Times Higher Education Supplement
A&M Nears Deal for Branch Campus in Doha
Texas A&M University is in final negotiations to open a branch in Doha, capital of Qatar, as part of the ambitious Education City. The huge development is being planned by the private organization Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.
The branch university, which the foundation would entirely fund, would offer A&M bachelor’s degrees in petroleum, chemical, electrical and mechanical engineering to students from the region. It would also allow professors and students from College Station, Texas, to teach and conduct research in the oil- and gas-rich country.
The foundation’s plans for Education City involve building a university composed of top international universities’ branch campuses. Other U.S. universities with branches in or planned in Qatar are Virginia Commonwealth, which opened a branch in 1998, and Cornell, which plans to open the Weill Medical College in 2004 (see Nov/Dec WENR).
Texas A&M Opens Engineering Program
Texas A&M has signed a 10-year agreement with the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development to open an undergraduate engineering campus at the 2,400-acre Education City.
The campus, opening this fall, will offer degree programs in petroleum, chemical, electrical and mechanical engineering. The curriculum will be identical to the one offered in Texas. The Qatar campus is expected to enroll 50 students a year in its first five years. It will be coeducational, and classes will be taught in English.
Chronicle of Higher Education
French Firm to Help Develop Private University
French defense and telecommunications giant Thales is planning a software engineering institute and a program and project management institute within Al-Faisal University, a new private university expected to open in September.
The software institute will provide graduate and undergraduate studies in software engineering at an internationally recognized level. Similarly, the project management institute will provide graduate and undergraduate studies, offering high-tech employment prospects in a variety of industries.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Sultan: Technical College to Open Next
Talking to students after inaugurating the Sharjah College of Fine Arts, Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, ruler of Sharjah, said a technical college will soon be established to provide vocational skills to the local community.
The technical college will form part of the University of Sharjah, allowing the institution to provide a wider range of professional courses.
Local observers see the inauguration of the College of Fine Arts as another step closer to the sultan’s vision of making Sharjah the cultural capital of the UAE and the Persian Gulf. The college, the eighth at the University of Sharjah, has been formally linked with the prestigious Royal Academy of Arts in London.
Warwick MBA available through Knowledge Village
“The Warwick MBA is an international program with 1,800 participants studying in over 80 countries,” said Howard Thomas, dean of Warwick Business School. “We have developed a number of partnerships to tailor the program to suit local needs…The Warwick MBA is currently offered in the Gulf region, Hong Kong, Singapore and Sweden.”
Village news release
Ministry Clamps Down on Unaccredited Institutions
The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has recently started to tighten the noose on unaccredited institutions operating in the country. It has issued a list of 24 private higher education institutions operating in the UAE that are recognized by the ministry. Institutions not on the list — there are more than 76 — have been ordered to cease enrolling students immediately and have been given until the fall semester to conclude their existing programs.
It is believed that most of the institutions in question gained licenses from the ministry to offer non-degree short courses and then went on to obtain commercial licenses from the authorities in the emirates where they are based in order to start offering degree programs.
The move comes at a time when many in the UAE, especially expatriates, are finding it increasingly tough to afford the high cost of higher education at the country’s 40 recognized institutions of higher education. Many of the institutions that have been handed out warnings from the ministry are housing foreign degree programs through the medium of distance education. One such institution is the International Dhafir Institute, which offers degree programs from the Mahatma Ghandi University of Kerala, India, for expatriate students wishing to gain credentials recognized by Indian higher education authorities.
Authorities from similar institutes are hoping that local authorities will not enforce the ban, but rather, better regulate the field of distance education so expatriate students will be able to fund their degree programs without having to leave the United Arab Emirates in search of an affordable education.