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Arab university presidents establish higher education network

Over 100 university presidents from seven Middle Eastern and North African countries have launched a Network for Higher Education, the World Bank announced on 11 December.

The network will work towards a common reform strategy for higher education in the MENA region. It also aims to network researchers and experts, promote knowledge sharing and help improve the quality of university management.

The network will make use of the University Governance Screening Card, an evaluation tool to help monitor the quality of higher education. It was initiated in 2010 with 21 universities in four countries.

“The size of this meeting was a clear sign of the regional commitment to change,” said Adriana Jaramillo, World Bank education specialist. “There is a shared goal of creating universities that will equip young people with the skills they need to prosper, and the screening card and proposed network will help them achieve it.“

The agreement was reached during the ‘Lessons Learned from Benchmarking University Governance in MENA’ workshop, hosted by the British Council, the Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, the Marseille Center for Mediterranean Integration, and the World Bank.

In addition to university presidents from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories and Tunisia, participants included senior government officials, representatives of quality assurance agencies, students, and representatives of US and European donor organisations.