A Necessity in the MENA region . . .
Wagdy Sawahel published on June 3rd 2016 (Issue No:416) a piece dealing with the Need for improved University Governance in the MENA. Indeed, university leaders, higher education policy-makers and experts from the MENA have called for “stronger measures to improve university governance and teaching quality, in order to increase the competitiveness and employability of graduates.” Below in the integral version of the article published in University World News:
“This was the main message from the 5th International MENA Tertiary Education Conference held from 30 May to 1 June in Algiers, Algeria, under the theme “Paradigm Shifts in Tertiary Education: Improved governance and quality for competitiveness and employability”. . . . [ms-protect-content] The conference was jointly organised by Algeria’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the World Bank and the Center for Mediterranean Integration in collaboration with organisations such as the British Council, UNESCO and the Association of Arab Universities.
“The question of governance in tertiary education is particularly relevant in the MENA region where youth unemployment rates are higher than in any other region across the world – 21% in the Middle East and 25% in North Africa – and tertiary education graduates with at least an undergraduate degree make up nearly 30% of the unemployed,” said the conference press report. “There is a broad consensus on the role of governance in improving education quality in tertiary education.” The conference also called for enhanced collaboration among higher education regional actors in the Mediterranean, exploring potential synergies between programmes and facilitating connections among educational initiatives. Further, it was important to build great capacity for higher education institutional planning, performance assessment, indicator development, financial management, outreach and internationalisation.
University Governance Score Card
The conference was also an occasion for a network of 113 tertiary education institutions in the region to share and discuss best practices and success stories in introducing measures to develop governance and implement the second version of the University Governance Score Card, UGSC V.2.0. At the opening of the conference Tahar Hadjar, Algeria’s Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, indicated that the University Governance Score Card had enabled 22 Algerian universities to position themselves in relation to the criteria it deployed.
According to the ministry’s website, Hadjar said these included quality, management of the university, its openness to the social and economic environment, financing and auditing. The programme was timely to “enable us to reform the sector, and modernise and strengthen the quality of education”. Hadjar explained that cyclical meetings organised by the World Bank would facilitate adaptation of new practices in human resource training for universities.
The UGSC is an innovative tool that enables universities in MENA to benchmark themselves with other institutions in the region as well as with international standards, define unique sets of goals and establish individualised benchmarks to assess progress in achieving them. The World Bank report Universities through the Looking Glass: Benchmarking university governance to enable higher education modernisation in MENA details the implementation, data analysis and validation of university governance screening piloted in Egypt, Morocco, the occupied Palestinian territory and Tunisia.”