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July/August 2000
Volume 13, Issue 4

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Regional News

 Middle East 


Plans are underway to establish a 100 million-pound loan program for needy university students. At present, Egyptian students pay between ŁE 30 to ŁE 150 each year to attend public universities. However, additional and miscellaneous expenses (books, transportation, cost of living, residence fees, etc.) can sometimes add up to several thousand pounds.

Under the new plan, students who can prove they are in need of financial assistance for education-related expenses will be eligible to receive up to ŁE 1,000 a year in government loans. The loans are interest free and repayment will be spread out over a period of 40 years.

While higher education officials have applauded the government's plan to extend loans to poor students, they are also concerned about the ensuing influx of enrollments in a university system that suffers from overcrowding and under-funding. Currently, 1.5 million students are enrolled in Egypt's universities. The government currently spends ŁE 4.5 billion on education.

Galal Abdel-Hamid Abdullah, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Universities, warns that higher education funding needs to be tripled to meet the needs of students and universities.

Many universities are looking for ways to alleviate the overcrowding problem, including providing students with lecture videos, so they do not have to come to campus. The emergence of several private institutions in the 1990s has taken up some of the slack. However, with tuition fees at these schools averaging about ŁE 25,000, only the rich can afford them.

— Middle East Times
Jan. 28, 2000


The Hebrew University of Jerusalem recently opened a new School of Engineering and Computer Science. The school will focus exclusively on computer science-based engineering disciplines, such as artificial intelligence, speech recognition, software engineering, computer communications and electronics.

Thirty-five students were enrolled for the fall 1999 semester, in addition to the 150 students in the computer science program. University officials hope to enroll 1,100 students within the next five years.

— AF HU Wisdom
Spring 2000


A new private college for girls was inaugurated in June. Dar Al-Hikmah College for girls has become the fourth private institution of higher education to be established in Saudi Arabia this year. In 1999 the government issued a decree encouraging the private sector to contribute to the country's educational development by opening new colleges and universities.

In October, the Prince Sultan Private College in Riyadh also began admitting students. The college will award bachelor degrees and will provide opportunities for exceptionally gifted students to pursue graduate studies at other institutions. Academic programs at the college include advanced technologies, advanced English and computer applications.

Prince Sultan College for Tourism opened on May 30, 1999. At the inauguration ceremony Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, governor of Asir Region, said that more than 330 hotels, 3,500 housing centers and 320 travel and tourism agents in the country will benefit from it's the college's graduates. This is the first college in Saudi Arabia to specialize in tourism. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal disclosed that more than 1.5 million tourists visited Asir resorts last summer. About 15 percent of them were from the region, he said.

Effat College for girls in Jeddah is also a private institution that recently opened its doors. The college offers junior college diplomas, in addition to undergraduate and graduate degrees. Courses include languages and humanities (English language and translation, educational psychology and kindergarten education), computer and data systems, applied medical sciences (clinical laboratories), and pharmacology. All technical subjects will be taught in English.

By 2009, the school expects to accept 4,366 women and have a staff of 584.

— Saudi Arabia
June 2000

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