Monitoring Quality in Arab Higher Education
The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research grants licenses to universities and other higher education institutions, including professional and technical institutions, to open and operate. The Council for Accreditation and Quality Assurance monitors the quality of education in higher-education institutions after they open. The council was founded in 2010 and studies private and public accreditation requests and assesses higher-education institutions on a regular basis. The council enjoys legal and financial independence, and its headquarters are located in the capital, Sana’a. It has nine members with Ph.D. degrees in various academic disciplines.
The ministry requires the following conditions to grant a license to operate a higher-education institution in Yemen (for more details on the regulations, click here):
- A statement listing the names of the founders (or investors) along with a C.V. for each.
- Project capital of no less than the equivalent of $2 million for a university and $1 million for a college or other higher-education institution.
- Documents proving the proposed institution can meet all of its financial obligations related to establishment and operation, and maintain its academic standards.
- Legally approved documents that describe the relationship between the university’s founders and its assets, including cash, infrastructure and equipment.
- The expected date when classes will start.
- A written commitment by the university that it will not close until it has found places for its students in equivalent academic departments and after obtaining the ministry’s approval for such student transfers.
- A commitment that full-time faculty members will be no less than 30 percent of total faculty in each scientific department, and that this proportion will increase to 70 percent within seven years from the institution’s start-up date.
- A bank guarantee under the ministry’s disposal equal to 10 percent of the capital needed to establish the institution. This deposit is used to counter any damages caused by delays, closure, bankruptcy, or other problems.
The ministry has the authority to withdraw a license and close a university if it does not commit to providing quality education. (Due to the current war in Yemen, as of January 2016 government education agencies are not active in quality control.)
Before the war, 10 public universities and 41 private universities operated in Yemen, according to 2016 statistics from the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. In addition to 80 public technical and vocational institutes, there are 17 public community colleges and 25 private colleges.
According to Yemeni law, government officials are prohibited from opening a private university, and each university has a department responsible for accountability and the power to conduct investigations to prevent conflict of interest and corruption.