Govt stops postgraduate studies for teachers in Arab states

  • Category: Saudi Arabia
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The Ministry of Education has halted all scholarships for male and female teachers to study postgraduate programs in Arab universities. The ministry has also ceased approvals for such studies on the persons' own expense. Additionally, the ministry stressed that education departments across the Kingdom should not give approval for study leaves to seek postgraduate qualifications in Arab universities.

The decision to stop these scholarships is due to the fact that the specialties which the teachers seek to study are available at Saudi universities. The ministry said new regulations for education department employees who wish to study outside the Kingdom will soon be announced.

Abdul Qader Al-Fantookh, deputy minister for planning and information, said that Saudi universities absorbed all students who wish to study and there are additional seats available for whoever wants to continue postgraduate studies.

"The academic teaching levels of professors of Saudi universities have kept pace with every advanced development in the field of education. Our universities are seeking to acquire academic accreditations of quality either from inside or outside the country," said Al-Fantookh.

The decision comes at a time when the Ministry of Higher Education, before its merger with the Education Ministry, released a survey indicating an increase in the total number of new male and female students in Saudi universities, from 273,000 students in 1430, to 443,000 in 1434.

The survey showed that the number of students enrolled in higher education institutions stood at 1.5 million students, an increase of 79.3 percent over the past four years.

The survey also indicated that the number of graduate students has grown during the period 1429 to 1434 from 123,000 male and female graduates in 1429 to more than 146,000. The total growth proportion of graduates amounted to 19.2 percent.

The ministry stressed the fact that college education represents a long-term national investment which ultimately will play a key role in all sectors of development.

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King Abdullah’s Legacy: Championing Higher Education in Saudi Arabia

  • Category: Saudi Arabia
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King Abdullah and King SalmanBy Stefanie A. Hausheer

As the moment has arrived to mourn the passing of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, my own experience with Saudis leads me to believe that the king’s greatest legacy to his own people—and to Saudi-US relations—will prove to be his pioneering of higher education initiatives. In just the decade of his reign, the remarkable results from his namesake King Abdullah Scholarship Program and the King Abdullah University of Science & Technology have set the stage for accelerating social and political change in the notoriously conservative kingdom. This approach is certainly the best prophylaxis against extremism and violence in the name of religion. Read more: King Abdullah’s Legacy: Championing Higher Education in Saudi Arabia

Saudi, Jordan universities sign research agreement

  • Category: Saudi Arabia
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Prince Mohammed bin Fahd University (PMU) signed a research and technology exchange agreement with Jordan's Princess Sumaya University for Technology (PSUT) in Alkhobar on Thursday. The agreement, which was signed by Prince Mohammed and Princess Sumaya bint El-Hassan, is aimed at improving scientific research and education outcomes at both institutions. Others who attended the event were Prince Turki bin Mohammed bin Fahad, deputy chairman of the PMU council, Esaa Al-Ansari, rector of the PMU, and other officials. Read more: Saudi, Jordan universities sign research agreement

KFUPM and Georgia Tech Institute discuss facilitating the process of drilling for oil and gas

  • Category: Saudi Arabia
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The Center for Energy and Geophysical operations at KFUPM organized, on Sunday, 19 October 2014, a workshop on seismic data processing in collaboration with the Institute of Georgia Tech in order to exchange experiences and scientific research and the identification of the most important developments in the field of seismic data. Read more: KFUPM and Georgia Tech Institute discuss facilitating the process of drilling for oil and gas

IIE Open Doors: 8% growth at US HEIs driven by China, Saudi Arabia

  • Category: Saudi Arabia
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Screen-ShotBy Sara Custer

The number of international students studying at US higher education institutions has grown by an impressive 8% to reach an all-time high of 886,052 students in 2013. According to the annual Open Doors report published by the Institute of International Education China and Saudi Arabia accounted for 73% of the growth.

Alongside the boom in numbers, the economic impact of international students’s spending increased 12% totalling $26.8 billion and supported some 340,000 jobs.
Up 17% on the previous year, Chinese students now number 274,439 and account for 31% of all international students in US higher education. The growth has been seen mostly in undergraduate programmes as figures released last week show that first time Chinese enrolments in graduate programmes have fallen for the first time in a decade.

Indian students are the second largest cohort in the country now totalling 102,673 students after a 6% rise– the first upturn after three consecutive years of decline. Researchers attribute the reversal to the Indian Rupee’s stabilisation against the US Dollar and stricter visa policies in competing destinations.

“I believe the quality of US higher education attracts Indian students but we’re also attracting those who no longer feel welcome in countries, for example like the UK which has recently seen a drop in the numbers of Indian students,” said Rajika Bhandari, Deputy Vice President for Research and Evaluation at IIE.

The overall 8% growth rate for the country was the highest in a decade and for the first time ever, four universities– New York University, University of Southern California, University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, and Columbia University– are hosting more than 10,000 students.

As a recruitment market, MENA continues to heat up with numbers from the region increasing the most, 20%. Thanks to government funded scholarship programmes Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are among the fastest-growing origin countries as Saudi student numbers grew 21% to 53,919 and Kuwaiti figures jumped by 43% equating to 7,288 students.

Brazil’s Scientific Mobility programme, now in its second year, is also beginning to make an impact with enrolments growing 22% to 13,286 students.

Commenting on the national scholarship programmes in the three countries, Bhandari said the influence goes beyond just funding overseas studies.

“The scholarships have an impact at all levels of education in motivating students to go study in another country,” she said. “The Brazil programme for example, is a programme primarily targeting undergraduate students but we’ve actually seen an impact at all academic levels.”

Elsewhere, figures from South Korea, the third largest origin country, continue to decline (-4%) as well as from Taiwan (-3%). The steep drop in Japanese students seen in recent years has levelled off with numbers falling only about 1% thanks mostly to national campaigns launched last year to promote international education in the country.

The report has been released to coincide with the 15th annual international education week and highlights the 72% rise in international students from 514,723 in 1999-2000
Compared with figures from 2000, in 2014 there are five times as many Chinese students, two and half times as many Indian students and ten times the number of Saudi students.

Numbers from top senders Taiwan and Japan meanwhile dropped 59% and 27% respectively during the same period.

But despite dramatically increasing in the past 15 years, international students still represent just 4% of the 21 million students enrolled in US HEIs.

Meanwhile, US students studying abroad for credit increased by 2% to 289,408 students representing 1.5% of total domestic enrolments. The UK remains the most popular country of destination and there’s an upward trend to study abroad among students majoring in STEM subjects after increasing 9%.

“The big difference we’ve seen over the past 15 years is that US engineering schools and science departments are really themselves pushing students to study abroad which didn’t used to be the case; it used to be students in the social sciences, students in the humanities and arts. ” commented Peggy Blumenthal, Senior Counselor to the President at IIE.

“But now I think there has been a real change among the academics themselves, the faculty members encouraging this and making possible this kind of short term study abroad within your academic degree.”
Earlier this year, IIE launched the Generation Study Abroad campaign to double the number of outbound US students by the end of the decade.
To date 450 partners have joined the initiative including 298 US colleges and universities from 48 states; 67 higher education institutions and organisations in other countries; 16 education associations; 56 organisations including study abroad, K-12, and social network agencies; and 13 US and foreign government entities.

Source:, Published initially on on Nov 17, 2014.


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