Under the title “Enhancing Arab Excellence: a new vision for higher education in the region”, a conference was held in the UAE and hosted by Zayed University and Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). At the conference, the QS World University Rankings of Arab Region was announced, while the leaders of higher education in the Arab region discussed the future of higher education in the Arab region and how to prepare students for future jobs.
Notably, the conference had a wide international participation, where a number of heads of Arab and international organizations, universities and quality assurance bodies attended it. In fact, the QS ranking is considered one of the important rankings that has a direct impact on the status and reputation of local and international educational institutions. In more details, the QS ranking is based on the following indicators; Academic Reputation; Employer Reputation; Faculty/Student Ratio; Citations per faculty; International Faculty Ratio; and International Student Ratio.
In his speech, Dr. Amr Salama, the General Secretary of AArU, stated that the world university rankings affect the strategic plans of higher education institutions and their institutional policies. In particular, Dr. Salama pointed out that world university rankings are real triggers for academics and researchers to start new international collaborations, and also they contribute to assisting students and their parents in choosing universities with the best level of study. Moreover, the ranking affected the accreditation, financing, sponsorship and employment decisions.
On the other hand, Dr. Salama pointed out that the current rankings sometimes show an inaccurate picture of the true quality of the universities, due to the following; these rankings are interested in specific types of research, especially medical and natural sciences; they have a lack of fair interest in engineering and social science research; and they almost or totally ignore the humanities publications unless they are in English.
Gladly, Dr. Salama announced that AArU, in cooperation with the Arab League and the Arab Organization for Education and its Sciences (ALECSO), has completed the final stages of the Arab Ranking for universities project, where it will launch its pilot model at the beginning of the next year. In this ranking, accurate international standards and indicators were adopted, taking into account the peculiarities and standards of Arabic and regional societies.
Moreover, Dr. Salama figured out, in his speech, the academic and scientific projects those adopted by AArU such as; Arab Impact Factor; Arab qualifications framework; and Arab Journals Platform. Furthermore, he also mentioned the agreements between AArU and both Elsevier and Coursera, where these agreements show benefiting from their expertise and services in the field of scientific publishing, as well as supporting the academic projects adopted by AArU that serving the Arab education system.