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First-Ever Arab Ranking of Universities Debuts, with 115 Institutions Included

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

The ranking council emanates from the General Secretariat of the Arab League, the Arab League of Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO), and the Association of Arab Universities.

The new ranking evaluates institutions based on four key 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, whose results were announced on December 21. Egypt, with 28 ranked universities, was country most represented on the list, followed by Iraq, with 19, Jordan, with 18, and Yemen, with 10.

Palestine and Libya each had eight institutions on the list, while Saudi Arabia had seven, Tunisia had four, and Syria three. In addition, three countries—Lebanon, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates—had two universities each, and Algeria, Bahrain, Kuwait and Somalia had one each.

The Top 25

The 25 top-ranked universities were:

  1. King Saud University (Saudi Arabia)
  2. Cairo University (Egypt)
  3. United Arab Emirates University (U.A.E.)
  4. Ain Shams University (Egypt)
  5. Mansoura University (Egypt)
  6. University of Sharjah (U.A.E.)
  7. King Khalid University (Saudi Arabia)
  8. University of Sfax (Tunisia)
  9. University of Alexandria (Egypt)
  10. University of Zagazig (Egypt)
  11. Taif University (Saudi Arabia)
  12. University of Tunis El-Manar (Tunisia)
  13. University of Monastir (Tunisia)
  14. Jordan University of Science and Technology (Jordan)
  15. Kuwait University (Kuwait)
  16. Jazan University (Saudi Arabia)
  17. Tanta University (Egypt)
  18. Kafrelsheikh University (Egypt)
  19. Menoufia University (Egypt)
  20. Banha University (Egypt)
  21. Baghdad University (Iraq)
  22. Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (Egypt)
  23. Suez Canal University (Egypt)
  24. Aswan University (Egypt), and
  25. British University in Egypt.

In Places 26 to 50

The next 25 universities  were, in order: Al-Balqa Applied University (Jordan), Yarmouk University (Jordan), Damietta University (Egypt), Islamic University of Gaza (Palestine), Mu’tah University (Jordan), and Al-Ahliyya Amman University ( Jordan), Effat University (Saudi Arabia), Muhammad I University (Morocco), Port Said University (Egypt), German Jordanian University (Jordan), Al-Mustansiriya University (Iraq), Suez University (Egypt), Future University (Egypt), Taiz University (Yemen), Sousse University (Tunisia), Sultan Moulay Slimane University (Morocco), Future University College (Iraq), Palestine Technical University- Kadoorie (Palestine), Al al-Bayt University (Jordan), Jadara University (Jordan), Philadelphia University (Jordan), University of Petra (Jordan), University of M’sila (Algeria), South Valley University (Egypt) and Anbar University (Iraq).

Places 51 to 75

In the next 25 places were: Misrata University (Libya), Sirte University (Libya), Gulf University (Bahrain), Al-Isra University (Jordan), Galala University (Egypt), Sadat City University (Egypt), Middle East University (Jordan), Catholic University in Erbil (Iraq), University of Science and Technology/Aden (Yemen), October 6 University (Egypt), Misr University for Science and Technology (Egypt), University of Kufa (Iraq), Aqaba University of Technology (Jordan), Pharos University in Alexandria (Egypt), Irbid National University (Jordan), Hadhramaut University (Yemen), Damascus University (Syria), Benghazi University (Libya), Badr University in Cairo (Egypt), Egyptian Russian University (Egypt), University of Business and Technology (Saudi Arabia), Baghdad University College of Economic Sciences (Iraq), University of Science and Technology/Sanaa (Yemen), Zarqa University (Jordan), and American University of Madaba (Jordan).

Places 76 to 100

In the next group were: Al-Iraqia University (Iraq), Al-Kafeel University (Iraq), Al-Nisour University College (Iraq), Karbala University (Iraq), Al-Aqsa University (Palestine), Palestine Polytechnic University (Palestine), Erbil Technical University (Iraq), Islamic University of Lebanon (Lebanon), Modern University of Management and Science (Lebanon), Zawiya University (Libya), Diyala University (Iraq), Twintech University (Yemen), Sebha University (Libya), Al-Quds Open University (Palestine), Gaza University (Palestine), Ajloun National University (Jordan), Libya Open University (Libya), Al-Isra University (Iraq), Horus University-Egypt (Egypt), Al-Isra University (Palestine), Al-Saeed University (Yemen), Al-Rayyan University (Yemen), Queen Arwa University (Yemen), Bilad Alrafidain University College (Iraq), and the University College of Applied Sciences (Palestine).

Places 101 to 115

The last 15 ranked institutions were: Yarmouk University College (Iraq), Al-Nasser University (Yemen), Al-Alamein International University (Egypt), Alexandria Higher Institute of Engineering and Technology (Egypt), Seiyun University (Yemen), Syrian Private University (Syria), Azal University for Human Development (Yemen), Mogadishu University (Somalia), Al-Razi University (Yemen), Samarra University (Iraq), College of Electrical and Electronic Technology–Benghazi (Libya), Al-Maqal University (Iraq), Madenat Al-elem University College (Iraq),  Bani Walid University (Libya), and Yarmouk Private University (Syria).

Conditions and Criteria

In an earlier statement, the Arab Ranking of Universities Council said that an institution must be an “educational and research university” to be included in the ranking. 

Amr Ezzat Salama, secretary-general of the Association of Arab Universities, explained that the classification’s methodology placed different weights on the four key performance indicators: : education and learning (30%), scientific research (30%), creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation (20%), and international and local cooperation and community service (20%).

Moreover, each of those metrics is calculated on the basis of nine sub-indicators.

The teaching and learning indicator is based on measures including the ratio of full-time faculty members with doctoral degrees to students, the number of scientific research papers published in internationally indexed journals, the number of faculty members with Hirsch coefficient of at least 20 in Scopus, , the average number of internal and external training hours faculty and staff members received, and the average number of hours of training that undergraduate students received in the labour market.

The scientific research metric is based on sub-indicators including the percentages of citations in the top 10 percent of papers cited globally in relation to the total number of citations during the last five years, the average number of papers by faculty members published in Scopus-ranked journals, and the Arab Impact Factor in the classification year.

The creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation metric is based on sub-factors such as the percentage of research related to industry, innovation, and infrastructure, and the number of research projects related to development and innovation in partnership with beneficiary entities.

The international and local cooperation and community service indicator is based on measures including the number of visiting faculty members from other countries, the number of joint and dual certificates with internationally ranked universities awarded, the number of faculty members and students participating in academic exchange programmes to and from the university, and the ratio of international students to local students.

The council said the classification aims to “be an essential motivator for academics” and encouraging universities to transform their research outputs into products that benefit society, “so that all of the above helps in attracting distinguished professors to teach at universities, and outstanding local and international students to join these universities.”


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