A Message to Schools
In our new bulletin, Al-Fanar Media brings you a selection of the most prominent news of higher education in the Arab world and a sampling of our own recent stories, besides a glimpse of cultural events, tips for students, scholarship announcements, opinions, and the latest developments regarding artificial intelligence (AI) in education.
As new technologies rapidly reshape labour-market needs, the question arises: What type of students do we want to graduate? Merely young adults with a general secondary education certificate, or students ready for university studies that will prepare them for future jobs? Society’s answer to this question determines the fate of millions of students in the Arab world. The optimal response requires a clear and integrated mechanism implemented by all parties.
The intended parties here are schools, universities, state agencies, the private sector, civil society, entrepreneurs, and related institutions. But where do we start?
We should start with schools. Among the dozens of classes and activities that schools schedule, there must be room for a visit to a university, where leaders can talk to students about the faculties and majors available to them, their future in the job market, and what it takes to join them.
If this seems too difficult, schools can call on their students’ parents as sources of inspiration. They may include an engineer, a doctor, a university professor, an archaeologist, or an artist, who can be invited to talk to students about their profession, how to study for it, and their field’s prospects in the labour market. … We just need to start!
Al-Fanar Media editor-in-chief
Birzeit University Commemorates Mahmoud Darwish on the Anniversary of His Death
On Wednesday, Birzeit University commemorated the 15th anniversary of the death of the great Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. In a statement, the university mentioned its special relationship with the poet, to whom it awarded an honorary doctorate in literature in 1996. It also published a lengthy extract from Darwish’s remarks on that occasion, including these closing lines:
“Any authentic culture, being national and human at the same time, can preserve its uniqueness and identity while it interacts and dialogues with other cultures, which together form the global culture.
“Hence, it is able to distinguish between what is human and what is racist in the culture of the other, and to realise the human common in which it is time for us to develop the means of our living presence in it, from a position of uniqueness liberated from the complex of inferiority and the complex of being closed off.
“We do not want to be heroes anymore.
“We do not want to be victims anymore.
“We want nothing more than just to be ordinary human beings.”
UNIMED Is Surveying Students’ Attitudes about Climate Change and Migration
The Mediterranean Universities Union (UNIMED) is surveying students in Italy, Morocco and Lebanon to learn their attitudes toward climate change and migration. The results will be published in a scientific paper in a few months.
The survey is part of UNIMED’s “Students Attitudes in a Changing Mediterranean” (ASMeC) Project, co-financed by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Italy’s University of Urbino Carlo Bo is the project’s scientific coordinator. Also taking part are Morocco’s Abdelmalek Essaâdi University, Lebanon’s Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, the Erasmus Student Network Italia, and the Erasmus Morocco Network.
Abu Dhabi University Wins Kuwaiti Accreditation Bureau’s Endorsement
Abu Dhabi University has been endorsed as a recommended university for nine undergraduate majors by Kuwait’s National Bureau for Academic Accreditation and Education Quality Assurance.
According to the Emirates News Agency, the nine approved bachelor’s degrees include business administration, civil engineering, information technology and computer engineering, as well as electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, architecture, and public health.
Abu Dhabi University is a private, multicampus institution that aspires to become the higher-education destination of choice for students across the Emirates and the wider region. With the Kuwaiti bureau’s recognition, students from Kuwait can now apply to study at the university.
The university’s chancellor, Ghassan Aouad, said: “We are honoured to receive recognition from the prestigious National Bureau for Academic Accreditation in Kuwait, endorsing us as a recommended university for their students.”
- Also see: Kuwaiti Decision to Recognise Fewer Arab Universities Leaves Students in the Lurch, Leader Says
University of Jordan and Pearson Discuss Academic Collaboration
On Wednesday, the University of Jordan’s president, Nathir Obeidat, held discussions with a delegation from the global education services company Pearson.
In a statement published by the university, Obeidat welcomed any future cooperation, stressing that the university aims to develop students’ linguistic and life skills, critical thinking, and self-development abilities.
Pearson has headquarters in London and operates in 65 countries, providing educational, professional-development, consulting, and knowledge-assessment services.
‘Be Ready’ Initiative Prepares Egyptian Graduates for the Labour Market
In a statement published on Wednesday, Egypt’s minister of higher education and scientific research, Ayman Ashour, praised the results so far of the “Be Ready” career guidance initiative and affirmed the ministry’s continuing support of its efforts to qualify young people and recent university graduates for the labour market.
The initiative was launched in April in cooperation with the British Agency for International Development (UKAID) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). It comes within the framework of a cooperation agreement between the ministry and the ILO to implement the U.K.-funded Higher Education Career Guidance and Employability project in Egypt.
Operating at six Egyptian universities, the “Be Ready” initiative aims to prepare young people for jobs that meet the requirements of the local, regional and international labour markets, to help support inclusive economic growth across the country. In addition to career readiness and core skills programmes, it also provides training in English-language and entrepreneurial skills.
Saudi Film Forum to Open in October
The Saudi Film Commission is sponsoring the first Saudi Film Forum, which will run October 1 to 4 in the Boulevard Riyadh City exhibition hall.
According to a news release, the forum will bring together prominent filmmakers, producers, directors, investors, and international media outlets, to explore the current status and future prospects of the film industry in the kingdom. The forum will focus on three main themes: industry trends, global practices, and challenges and opportunities in the film industry.
The film commission’s chief executive, Abdullah Al-Eyaf, believes the forum will have a positive impact on the development of the film industry in the kingdom. It will provide a platform for regional and international professionals in the industry to communicate, and serve as a basis for innovation and new technology in the industry, he said.
Emirati students are striving to spread awareness of climate issues ahead of COP28, the United Nations’ 2023 Climate Change Conference, which will take place in Dubai in December. For more details, read this article.
Eighty-four universities in 15 Arab countries are ranked in the 2024 edition of the QS World University Rankings, published in June by the British company QS Quacquarelli Symonds. The new classification compares 1,499 institutions around the globe and incorporates several new performance indicators, including measures of graduates’ employability, universities’ commitment to sustainability, and how connected universities are in terms of collaborative research. Read more in this article.
Millions of jobs could be automated in full or in part by the latest advances in artificial intelligence (AI), analysts have predicted. Consequently, universities are looking at how to reinvent higher education to equip students with the skills they will need to find a place in the labour market. With that in mind, Al-Fanar Media has been talking to academics about how Arab universities can maximize the benefits of AI in higher education and avoid some of its negative effects. Explore more in this article.
The war between rival generals in Sudan that has killed more than 1,800 people since mid-April is posing unprecedented challenges for higher education. The country’s universities have suffered a series of disruptions since 2018, and students and staff members are worried that the latest university closures will “further complicate academic conditions,” Mohamed Adam, a researcher at Sudan’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, told Al-Fanar Media. Read more in this article.
Tips and Resources:
As Arab university students prepare to begin a new academic year, they should keep in mind the many benefits of participating in extracurricular activities. Joining a sports team or a special interest club, doing volunteer work, or taking part in other nonacademic activities can boost students’ leadership abilities and other soft skills, help them develop latent talents, and enrich their lives during their school years and after graduation. In this report, we will bring you examples of extracurricular activities in several areas that can help you develop valuable skills while doing things you enjoy.
Technological inventions have been drastically reshaping modern life for at least a century, with public reactions typically ranging between complete acceptance to extreme opposition. So it is with artificial intelligence (AI) today. Clearly, AI has the power to reshape the future of education. The question is, how should educators respond? Two academics at Qatar University’s Gulf Studies Center discuss the issue in this commentary for Al-Fanar Media.
Al-Fanar Media maintains a database of quality scholarships for Arab students, which we continuously update. You can follow our website to stay up to date on the latest scholarships available in international universities. Check the Scholarships section here, and do not miss our constantly updated feedback on free learning opportunities in the News and Reports section, here.
Recent postings to our scholarship database include:
- Knight-Hennessy Scholars at Stanford University
- University of Sydney International Scholarship for Master’s or Ph.D. Study
- UAEU Postdoctoral Fellowship on Climate Actions