Bulletin: Birzeit U. Accuses Israel of Crimes against Prisoners; King Saud U. Tops Arab Ranking of Universities

The First Arab Ranking for Universities

In our new bulletin, Al-Fanar Media brings you our most prominent stories and news about higher education in the Arab world.

Today, we share with you the results of the first Arab University Ranking, which was announced by the Arab University Ranking Council, a body that operates under the imprimatur of the General Secretariat of the Arab League, the Arab League Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO), and the Association of Arab Universities.

I am convinced that rankings and standards give an important guide for permanent and continuous development. However, I am also convinced that it is necessary to take into account the cultural and socio-economic contexts of the societies that universities operate in.

Hence, a ranking of Arab universities by Arab higher education and research authorities is of special importance. We share the results of the first Arab Ranking for Universities in this bulletin. 

Mohammad El-Hawary

Al-Fanar Media Editor-in-chief 

From the Region

Birzeit U. Accuses Israel of Medical Crime in Treatment of Palestinian Prisoners 

Palestine’s Birzeit University has accused Israel of systematic medical crime in its treatment of a prisoner who was released in poor health and an emaciated condition last week. The prisoner, Farouk Al-Khatib, age 30, had been in administrative detention for four months. In a Facebook statement, the university published photographs that it said showed Al-Khatib in normal health before his arrest last August and weighing only 35 kilograms (77 pounds) at his release on December 20.

Citing a report by the Palestinian Prisoners Club, an advocacy group, the university said Al-Khatib, from the village of Abu-Shukhaydam, was brutally beaten by the occupation forces during his transfer from Ofer prison to the Ramlah crossing, and that beatings continued during his detention despite a marked decline in his health until he reached a critical stage. The university said that medical crimes against prisoners were a major tool in the occupation’s systematic policy of slow killings. 

Iraq Announces the 2023 National University Ranking

On Monday, Iraq’s Ministry of Higher Education announced the results of the 2023 Iraqi Ranking for Universities, with 95 public and private institutions ranked.

In a statement, the ministry said the universities were evaluated on the basis of criteria including effectiveness of scientific research (30%), institutional accreditation (20%), international classifications (10%), and faculty members (10%). Other criteria included community service (5%), awards (5%), students (5%), infrastructure (5%), diversity and international cooperation (5%), occupational health and safety (3%), and digital maturity (2%).

The results showed the University of Baghdad ranked first, followed by the University of Babylon and the University of Technology at the level of public universities, while Al-Ameed University ranked first among private universities and colleges.

Yemen Encourages Students to Apply for Scholarships in China

Yemen’s Ministry of Higher Education is notifying students that they may apply for scholarships offered by the People’s Republic of China in the 2024–2025 academic year.

In a statement, the ministry said that these scholarships come under an agreement signed between the two countries under which China receives undergraduate and graduate students from Yemen. Students who wish to apply for scholarships must first register on the Campus China scholarships website, via this link. The ministry will later announce a supplementary registration link for applicants in Yemen. Bachelor’s degree applicants must not be over 25 years old, master’s degree applicants must not be over 35, and doctoral student applicants must not be over 40.

U. of Jordan Scholar Honoured for Contributions in Structural Engineering

Yasmin Murad, an associate professor in the department of civil engineering at the University of Jordan, has been awarded the 2024 Early Career Award by the Emerald Publishing, an international publishing group with headquarters in the United Kingdom. The award acknowledges the achievements of early career researchers in the field of structural integrity and failure.

In a statement, the university said Murad was selected from among a large number of nominees in recognition of her research contributions in the field of structural integrity. Murad is an accomplished researcher who has published nearly 50 papers in the Scopus journals, and is one of the most cited researchers, ranking 34th among University of Jordan researchers. 

Bulletin: Birzeit U. Accuses Israel of Crimes against Prisoners; King Saud U. Tops Arab Ranking of Universities
Yasmin Murad, an associate professor in the department of civil engineering at the University of Jordan.

From Al-Fanar Media

First Arab Ranking of Universities Evaluates 115 Institutions in 16 Countries

In its first-ever classification, the Arab Ranking of Universities Council has released the 2023 Arab Ranking for Universities, which evaluates 115 universities in 16 countries.

The council emanates from the General Secretariat of the Arab League, the Arab League Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO), and the Association of Arab Universities. Its ranking evaluates institutions based on four indicators: education and learning; scientific research; creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation; and international and local cooperation and community service.

Saudi Arabia’s King Saud University took first place in the classification, which was issued on December 21. Egypt, with 28 ranked universities, was the country most represented on the list. It was followed by Iraq, with 19 universities, and Jordan, with 18. Other countries represented included Yemen (10 universities), Palestine (8), Libya (8), Saudi Arabia (7), Tunisia (4), and Syria (3), in addition to two universities each in Lebanon, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates, and one university each in Algeria, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Somalia. Read more about the new ranking in this article.


Global University Rankings Put Universities in Developing Countries at a Disadvantage

In an increasingly globalised world driven by knowledge and innovation, 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. In this essay, an Iraqi scholar aims to shed light on these issues and why they disadvantage institutions in developing nations.

In Conflict: 

Libyan University Students Struggle to Catch Up after Teachers’ Strike Ends

Libyan university students will struggle to catch up in their studies after professors’ sit-ins caused a two-month delay in the start of the academic year, but a plan to amend the academic calendar may give them some relief. The academic year was scheduled to start on September 17, but was delayed by the professors’s protests over pay and benefits. The teaching staffs agreed to resume classes in late November, and officials of the faculty union and the government are now planning changes to the academic calender that will allow students to complete a full academic year by this summer. Read more in this article

Environment and Climate 

Women Still Underrepresented in Climate Negotiations, Analysis Finds

Women are disproportionately affected by climate change, yet they are still underrepresented in high-level global climate negotiations like COP28, the United Nations’ climate-change summit that recently concluded in Dubai. An Al-Fanar Media analysis of women’s involvement in the annual COP summits between 2008 and 2022 found that women’s participation had grown since 2012, when COP18 committed to striving for gender balance climate negotiations. But it has never achieved the 50:50 gender balance that women’s advocates say “is an indispensable step towards promoting fair and inclusive climate action.” Read more in this article

Media Literacy 

Media Literacy in the Arab World: the ‘Media Literacy of the Oppressed’?

Twenty years ago, no Arab university offered a course in media literacy. Now at least 150 do. Jordan, the Arab world’s pioneering media-literacy country, teaches the subject from primary school onwards. But is it the same as the subject taught in the West? Jad Melki, director of the Institute of Media Research and Training at the Lebanese American University, thinks it isn’t. Read more in this article

Al-Fanar Media Activities: 

AFM Media Literacy Course for University Students to Start in Egypt

Al-Fanar Media (AFM) invites Egyptian university students to apply for a training course titled “Media Literacy for University Students,” which will be held at Misr International University from January 21 to 24, 2024. The workshop is being held within the framework of a project sponsored by the Ford Foundation and implemented by Al-Fanar Media experts. The project aims to eradicate “media illiteracy” among university students in the Arab world. Read more in this article


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.

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