Universities, private sector tie-ups 'growing'
Dubai, February 10, 2011
Arab countries are witnessing growing partnerships between universities and private companies, according to Edexcel, a leading provider of internationally recognized academic and professional qualifications.
Examples of such partnerships include the alliances between King Abdul Aziz City and various international pharmaceutical companies; Aramco and a number of Saudi Arabian universities; Qaboos University and Knowledge Oasis Muscat; Zayed University and IBM; and between UAE University and several leading oil and gas companies, it said.
Such affiliations are a promising indication that many national funds for science, technology and innovation (STI) have been created in recent years across the Middle East and North Africa. These include the 2008 European Union-Egypt Innovation Fund and two national funds, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation in the UAE (2007) and the Middle East Science Fund in Jordan (2009).
Mark Andrews, Mena and Caribbean regional director, Edexcel, added: “These types of partnerships are the building blocks of a sound education policy that is tied to market requirements. The Arab education system should work on introducing students to the real-world workplace. It is important to ensure that university and college graduates meet the practical and research needs of the labour market.”
The Unesco Science report, in its chapters on Arab countries, stated that the science and technology initiatives involving international agencies are starting to pay off in some countries. This is manifested by the availability of more funding in some Arabic countries for research and development.
Over the last five years, a number of major higher education science and technology initiatives have been launched, including King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and The Masdar Institute and Complex in Abu Dhabi. – TradeArabia News Service