Do You Want to Study in the U.K.?
In our new bulletin, Al-Fanar Media brings you our most prominent stories and news about higher education in the Arab world.
The United Kingdom is the second-most-favoured destination in the world for international students, and many Arab students dream of pursuing a degree there. To achieve this, they often seek a scholarship, and there’s no shortage of places to apply for one.
A number of organisations support study at the country’s top institutions, including the Saïd Foundation, which offers up to 20 scholarships annually to outstanding Syrian, Lebanese, Jordanian and Palestinian students for postgraduate study at partner universities in the United Kingdom.
Some scholarships are university specific, including famous ones like the Rhodes Scholarship for study at the University of Oxford, and the Gates Cambridge Scholarship for study at the University of Cambridge. Many other U.K. universities offer their own scholarships for international students.
Then there are awards like the Chevening Scholarships, provided by the British government, which allow international students to pursue one-year, taught master’s degrees in practically any subject at any university in the United Kingdom.
In this bulletin, we bring you the views of some Arab students who studied in the United Kingdom, who comment on various educational, cultural, and living aspects of their experiences there.
We also highlight a panel we organised to explore how to apply for a Chevening Scholarship.
Al-Fanar Media editor-in-chief
News from the Region:
Qatari Foundation Marks International Day to Protect Education
Qatar’s Education Above All (EAA) Foundation commemorated the International Day to Protect Education from Attack on September 9 in an event it organised at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Speaking at the event, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chair of the foundation’s Board of Directors, called upon technology companies to help bring education to the most vulnerable children. “We can break the cycle and redesign education to make learning more accessible, and use technology to bring accelerated learning to millions,” she said.
In his speech, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on nations to work together to end attacks on education. “That begins with all countries endorsing the Safe Schools Declaration, which details concrete measures and practices, to ensure that places of learning and the people inside them are protected at all times,” Guterres said.
- Also see: Western Academics Criticise Choice of Qatar to Host Next Year’s World Congress of Bioethics
Aid from Libyan Universities Reaches Region Devastated by Flood
Relief convoys and aid provided by Libyan universities and other research and academic institutions have reached the flood-devastated city of Derna, in the country’s east, education officials in the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity announced.
The city was severely damaged by flooding after two dams burst during Hurricane Daniel, claiming at least 11,300 lives, according to United Nations figures reported by the BBC. Another 10,000 people remain officially missing.
In a statement, the Ministry of Higher Education of the government based in western Libya said the aid provided included furniture, basic goods, supplies for children, and first aid, as well as medical teams. Committees formed at the University of Derna and at Omar Al-Mukhtar University, in Al-Bayda, 100 kilometres west of Derna, were receiving and distributing the aid.
Advice from ‘Nicest Judge’ to American U. of Sharjah Students: ‘Never Give Up’
On a visit to the American University of Sharjah, Judge Frank Caprio, an American jurist who has been called “the nicest judge in the world”, told students that what matters is not what you do in life, but what you leave behind.
Judge Caprio is a former chief judge of the Municipal Court of Providence, Rhode Island, whose compassionate rulings made him a global sensation on social media. He visited the university and spoke to an American History class there while in Sharjah to attend the 12th International Government Communication Forum, where he gave a keynote speech.
Judge Caprio said: “It is not important how you start but how you finish. Study hard, go out, conquer the world and never give up. Perseverance is key. Remember the road is not paved with gold and it is bumpy, so don’t you ever quit.”
Saudi Arabia’s Najran U. Discusses Interdisciplinary Programmes
Officials at Saudi Arabia’s Najran University are discussing ways of creating a group of interdisciplinary academic programmes, with the aim of enhancing integration between different knowledge fields.
According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Bandar Al-Shehri, the university’s vice dean for educational affairs, told a recent gathering it was important to overcome any difficulties that may hinder the development of such programmes, as integration between specialisations is an essential axis for moving from traditional, single-track curricula to promising new programmes that support mobility between careers and majors.
Abdulaziz Al-Maliki, advisor to the University Vice Presidency for Plans and Curricula Affairs, explained that interdisciplinary programmes aim to enhance integration between scientific majors and link different fields of knowledge, in a way that contributes to solving real-life problems and meets labour market needs.
USAID Allocates $85 Million for Higher Education
The American University in Cairo has been awarded a grant of $85 million from the United States Agency for International Development in Egypt to support an education development programme called “USAID Partnerships for Educational Progress”, the university announced on Monday.
The five-year programme aims to strengthen and develop higher education in Egypt through knowledge and capacity-building to focus on the state’s development priorities. Its goals include enabling Egyptian higher-education institutions to provide high-quality, multidisciplinary education that meets market requirements and contribute to facilitating the employment of graduates, the university said. The programme will be conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, universities in Egypt and the United States, and the private sector.
From Al-Fanar Media:
Some of the estimated 30,000 Arab students in the United Kingdom spoke to Al-Fanar Media about their experiences studying in the county. Read more about the lifestyle differences they encountered, factors like the weather and the cuisine, and what they learned about themselves, in this article.
The prestigious Chevening Scholarships, funded by the British government, allow international students to study for one-year master’s degrees at universities in the United Kingdom.
Students from all Arab countries except the six Gulf states are eligible to apply. The application window for the 2024–2025 scholarships opened last week, and potential Chevening Scholars have until 7 November to submit their applications.
To help Arab students who want to apply for these highly competitive scholarships, Al-Fanar Media organised a panel last year that offered advice from the Chevening programme manager at the British Embassy in Egypt and a former winner of the scholarship. Mohammad El Hawary, Al-Fanar Media’s editor-in-chief, moderated the panel. To watch their discussion (in Arabic) on Al-Fanar Media’s YouTube channel, click here.
Tips and Resources:
As Arab universities begin a new academic year begins, many first-time students are making the difficult transition to a new educational environment. Al-Fanar Media has been looking at some useful websites and other resources with advice that can help first-time students gain confidence, as well as academic and life skills. Here is a sampling of such resources.
Global university rankings have become influential tools for assessing the quality and reputation of higher education institutions worldwide. However, criticisms have emerged over how credible such rankings are, the inherent biases they carry, and the consequent injustice they impose on universities in developing countries. This essay aims to shed light on these issues and why they contribute to an unfair disadvantage for institutions in developing nations.
Al-Fanar Media maintains a database of quality scholarships available to Arab students, which we continuously update. To stay up to date on the latest scholarships available in international universities, check the Scholarships section here, and watch for updated feedback on free learning opportunities in our News and Reports section, here.