IDB scholars

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Before we start discussing the general roadmap for achieving excellence in S&T higher education in IDB member countries, three questions must be answered: ...

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Slide 1:Higher education and S& T in IDB member countries Present development and future prospects

Prof. Dr. Wagdy A. Sawahel General coordinator, IDB science development Network Vice-president of consultants group Innovation and Sustainable Development Perspective General coordinator of science development programme, US-based Royal Academy Science International Coordinator, COMSTECH Virtual Incubator for Science-based Business

Slide 2:What was our position in S&T higher education? Where we are now? Why we lag behind in S&T higher education? Some recent achievements in IDB member countries. The way forward..

Before we start discussing the general roadmap for achieving excellence in S&T higher education in IDB member countries, three questions must be answered:

Slide 3:(1) What was our position in S&T higher education?

We have a religion that encourages scientific researches. In fact, Islamic medicine and science produced by Moslem scientists led the world for centuries while Europe stagnated in the Dark Ages. The first verse of the Quran that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was, Iqra!Read in the name of thy Lord who creates.This is in fact the beginning of the quest for knowledge, which emphasized the importance of learning in human life.

Slide 4:The teaching of the holy prophet of Islam emphasize

"The acquiring of knowledge as bounden duties of each Muslim from the cradle to the grave" and that "The quest for knowledge and science is obligatory upon every Muslim man and woman." Moslem holy book exhort believers to study nature, to reflect, and to make the best use of reason in their search for the ultimate truth.

Slide 5:We have a historical record in science and technology achievements The Muslim World made remarkable contributions to science. Muslims introduced new methods of experiment, observation, and measurement. To name but a few: Al-Khwarizmi invented algebra (an Arabic word) and the word algorithm is derived from his name;

Slide 6:Ibn al-Haytham wrote the laws of the reflection and refraction of light and expounded the principles of inertia (long before Isaac Newton formulated his theories); Ibn Sina (born in what is now modern-day Uzbekistan) wrote the Canon of Medicine, a 318-page medical text that was the basis for all medical teaching in Europe and the Middle East for hundreds of years.

Slide 7:"The main, as well as the least obvious, achievements of the middle ages was the creation of the experimental spirit, and this was primarily due to the Muslim down to the 12th century" The science historian George Sarton

Slide 8:(2) Where we are now?

Despite being 22 per cent of the world population having 70 per cent of energy resources 40 per cent natural resources The contribution of OIC countries towards world income is only 8 per cent. 39 per cent of population lives below the poverty level 22 of the 50 least developed countries in the world are OIC Member States. It is sad to admit to the fact that gross national product of the Islamic countries collectively was about US$1,200 billion, less than one quarter the figure for Japan with no natural resources, and only just higher than the GDP of Germany. (A) Status of science and technology in IDB member countries

Slide 9:The 57 predominantly Muslim countries have about 23 % of the world's total population but

Less than 1% of its scientists who generate less than 5 % of its science and make barely 0.1 % of the world's original research discoveries each year. The Islamic countries have a negligible percentage of patent registrations in US, Europe and Japan. The Research and Development manpower of Muslim countries is only 1.18% of the total science and technology manpower. Only two scientists from Islamic states have won Nobel Prizes , Abdus Salam, a Pakistani (Physics, 1979) and Ahmed Zewail, an Egyptian (Chemistry, 1999). Both carried out their research outside Islamic countries. Today's Muslim societies have generated few scientists of international repute. Islamic countries, as a whole, have approximately 275 researchers per million population against 850 per million in the developed West.

Slide 10:The entire Muslim world constituting one-fifth of humanity, contributes barely 1000 research articles out of 100,000 science books and 2,000,000 research articles published annually. While the West has an average of 3000 science PhDs per million of its inhabitants, the number in IDB member countries is so dismally small that not even the statistics are available.

Slide 11:Countries that are predominantly Muslim are characterized by low spending on Science, small scientific communities, and poor-quality universities. Whereas Japan, the United States, Germany, and other Western countries spend 2 % - 4% of their gross domestic product (GDP) annually on research; no Muslim country spends more than 0.5 % of its (much lower) GDP on research. The OIC countries have about 1000 universities in total compared to 1,000 in Japan, including 120 in Tokyo alone.

Slide 12:Even among the Muslim countries, there are regional imbalances. The ratio works out to:

only 100 researchers per million African Muslims 445 for one million Arab populations For Asians it is 569 researchers per million people.

Slide 13:The disparity between the Third World and Muslim nations in the number of scientists and engineers is quite striking. Despite similar levels of development, there are more than twice as many scientists and engineers in the Third World as in the Muslim countries, and almost eleven times as many in the industrialized nations.

Slide 14: The rate of enrollment in higher education for Muslim is fully 45 % lower than that for the Third World countries, a state of affairs that could be regarded stunning.

Slide 15:Some striking figures to think about

Of the 28 lowest producers of scientific articles, according to the US National Science Foundation in 2006, half are IDB member countries. In 2003, the world average for production of articles per million inhabitants was 137; the average of IDB member countries was only 13 with the highest publication rates being in Turkey and Iran. And according to the World Bank Development Indicators of 2006, the IDB member countries produce so few patents that they are invisible on a bar chart in comparison with other countries. Of the top 15 countries which have submitted international applications under the patent cooperation treaty, not one of them are Muslim country.

Slide 16:United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) has grouped countries of the world in terms of technology into:

leaders potential leaders dynamic adopters Marginalized countries. Only Malaysia and Turkey are classified among potential leaders. The rest of the OIC countries fall under the category of marginalized countries.

Slide 17:Rand Corporation has classified countries into:

Scientifically advanced Scientifically proficient Scientifically developing Scientifically lagging countries. Only 8 OIC countries namely, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Iran, Kuwait, Egypt, Turkmenistan and Indonesia, were classified as scientifically developing countries. The remaining 49 OIC countries were classified as scientifically lagging countries.

Slide 18:(B) What is the position of IDB member countries-based universities in international universities ranking?

At present there are 57 Muslim States, members of the IDB , and the total number of universities and institutions of higher education and research in the Muslim world is only just above 1000 (The Federation of Universities of the Islamic World has membership of 217 universities). This will help academic and higher education policy makers in identifying the weakness and constraints that IDB-based universities are facing in terms of quality and efficiency as well as identifying best practices from highly performing world class universities.

Slide 19:Academic Ranking of World Universities

The much-publicized academic ranking of the world universities complied by the shanghai Jiao Tongo university. The Shanghai ranking uses a weighted composite sum. Shanghai appraises education and faculty based on Nobel- and Fields-winning alumni/faculty and highly-cited researchers. It measures research by counting non-review articles in Nature and Science, and the total number of published articles. Also, a weighted average of these indicators is adjusted for institutional size and contributes 10% to the final sum. One of the primary criticisms of the ranking is its bias towards the natural sciences, over other subjects and science journals in the Anglosphere. This is evidenced by the inclusion of criteria such as the volume of articles published by Science or Nature (both Journals devoted to the natural sciences published in English), or the number of Nobel prize winners (which are predominantly awarded to the physical sciences) and fields Medalists (mathematics).

Slide 20:According to 2007 academic ranking of the world universities, the only 2 universities from Islamic world that are listed in the top 500 universities are the following:

Slide 21:QS World University Rankings

The Times Higher Education Supplement "THES", a British publication annually publishes the THES-QS world university rankings, a list of 400 ranked universities from around the world. The Times ranking is a composite system. The ranking assigns much weight (40% of total) to an expert opinion survey. Additional components address the rating from graduate recruiters, recruitment of international faculty, the enrollment of international students, the student to faculty ratio, and total citation counts. QS ranking faces criticism due to the more subjective nature of its assessment criteria, which are largely based on a "peer review" system of 1000 academics in various fields.

Slide 22:According to 2008 QS World university rankings, below are the Muslim universities mentioned in the list of top 500 universities.

Slide 23:Webometrics of world universities

Webometrics of world universities is produced by Cybermetrics Lab (CINDOC), a unit of the National Research Council (CSIC), the main public research body in Spain. It offers information about more than 4,000 universities according to their web-presence (a computerised assessment of the size and sophistication of the website). Webometric indicators are provided to show the commitment of the institutions to Web publication. Thus, Universities of high academic quality may be ranked lower than expected due to a restrained web publication policy.

Slide 24:According to January 2009 Webometrics of world universities, below are the Muslim universities mentioned in the list of top 500 universities.

Slide 25:Web-based popularity ranking for universities in the world

4 International Colleges & Universities is an international higher education search engine and directory reviewing world-wide accredited Universities and Colleges. includes 8750 Colleges and Universities ranked by web popularity in 200 countries. Universities and Colleges are sorted by Web Popularity Ranking. The ranking is based upon an algorithm including three unbiased and independent web metrics extracted from three different search engines: Google page rank Yahoo inbound links Alexa traffic rank The aim of this website is to provide an approximate popularity ranking of worldwide Universities and Colleges based upon the popularity of their websites.

Slide 26:According to March 2009 Web-based popularity ranking for universities in the world, below are the Muslim universities mentioned in the list of top 200 universities.

Slide 27:Scientific research performance ranking

It is different from QS World University ranking by Time Higher Education Supplement which focuses on university ranking, and the academic ranking of the world universities by Shanghai Jiao Tong University which focuses on academic ranking. It evaluates and ranks the scientific papers performance for the top 500 universities worldwide. The performance measures are composed of nine indicators to assess a university's overall scientific paper performance along three criteria: research productivity (account for 20%), research impact (30%) and research excellence (50%). The emphasis on current research performance makes the indicators a fairer one than some traditional indicators such as a university's reputation or the number of Nobel Prize winners affiliated with that university, which tends to favor universities with longer histories or universities in developed countries. Although many institutions from developing countries such as Mexico, Brazil, India, South Africa and Argentina were included inthe top 500 universities of 2007 and 2008 performance ranking of scientific papers, no single university from the 57 Islamic countries was mentioned.

Slide 28:Regional ranking

A preliminary report on the academic rankings of universities in the OIC prepared by the Turkish-based Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Center for Islamic Countries (SESRTCIC, an OIC affiliate, based on objective measurements and includes a number of rankings based on different criteria widely used in this area such as: Internationally comparable data accessible to verification and objective quantitative criteria The Number of articles published by all universities in the period of 2001, 2004-2006 and number of citations received by these publications and a combination of both The data from the database of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI Articles published in journals indexed in Science Citation Index Science Citations Index Expanded ) Social Science Citation Index ) ISI Web of Knowledge The ranking was done first for 323 of 1700 universities in the OIC based on single factor ranking. Then, 85 of 323 universities were analyzed for ranking by the composite index. SESRTCIC Ranking

Slide 29:Top 20 universities by the composite index

Slide 30:COMSTECH Ranking

OIC standing committee on scientific and technological cooperation has classified Muslim states and their universities according to publications frequency between 1995-2005. Scientifically Productive Countries in the Muslim World Top 10 most scientifically productive countries in the Muslim world Source: COMSTECH As measured by publications frequency between 1995-2005

Slide 31:Top 25 Most Productive Universities in the Muslim World

Source: COMSTECH Ten-year Publication Rate (1995-2005)


The key problem facing scientific achievement in the Muslim world. results from the cumulative effect of multiple factors, and not from a single dominant cause. Here are some ten of those factors: Demographics. The number of research scientists and engineers remains well below that of rich countries as well as Latin America and South and East Asia. Science and engineering students are drawn primarily from urban middle-income backgrounds; few of the much larger number of poor students can pursue research careers. Only a handful of mostly urban, middle-class male students have sufficient exposure to science to even consider making it a career. Language. With an estimated 80 percent of the world's scientific literature appearing first in English, the literature in Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and other languages is inadequate for teaching students as well as researchers. Scientific work, therefore, requires a competence in reading, writing, and comprehending English, an area in which Muslims overall lag behind other peoples.

Slide 33:Education. Universities emphasize teaching rather than research. Few strong doctoral programs or research centers of academic excellence exist. Overcrowded, underfunded, and turbulent universities have been unable to protect space and resources for research. Research. The Muslim world suffers no shortage of scientists and engineers, but it does have an acute scarcity of career researchers. While several countries boast outstanding individual researchers and projects, there is little mentorship or in-house ability to train young researchers. University-industry alliance Given the increasing links between science and technology, state-owned corporations have a potentially important role. They have neglected science and unwilling to build linkages to university researchers .

Slide 34:Professional societies. Professional societies of physicists, engineers, dentists, physicians, and other disciplines generally sponsor journals and meetings but have no structures or resources for research. Resources. A lack of financial resources and incentives has been a major barrier to research except in some oil-rich states. Even where funds are available, research-management capabilities are in short supply. The prospects for stable research funding and effective institution-building are both poor.

Slide 35:Regional cooperation. It makes eminent sense in principle, for a handful of countries (like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia) are oil-rich and short of researchers, while other countries (Egypt and Pakistan) export them. Also, the similarity of applied-research needs and priorities, such as solar energy, desertification, and desalination, should produce shared interests. Meetings held over two decades to coordinate regional research have produced many statements and little action. Government incompetence. Applied-research units in government ministries, such as agriculture or construction, have often become sinecures for political appointees with little or no interest or capabilities for research.

Slide 36:Some notable achievement in IDB member countries

Iran ..a new world leader in science and technology Iran stands 11, 13, 15, 19, 22 and 32 in the world rankings of the scientific fields of math, mechanic, polymer, chemistry, chemical engineering and physics, respectively. Malaysia.leader South-South collaboration and a regional education hub The UN has announced an international centre for South-South cooperation in science, technology and innovation based in Malaysia. It will promote research collaboration, technology transfer and the development of industries in fields such as information technology, biotechnology and nanotechnology. Malaysia is developing an education city that it hopes will be partially operational by 2013. Located in Nusajaya, Iskandar Malaysia, the 129-hectare EduCity could eventually have eight universities, each with one specialised faculty. According to the Institute of International Education, Malaysia has 2% of the world's international student population. It is currently the world's 11th most preferred study destination with almost 70,000 international students from more than 150 countries - the majority from Indonesia, China and the Middle East.

Slide 37:Saudi Arabia ranked 7th in higher education British magazine The Economist has placed Saudi Arabia on seventh place ahead of France, Russia, Italy, Spain, Malaysia and many other countries in the field of higher education and scientific research. Several factors helped in enabling the Kingdom to occupy this position. The amount spent on each student in the field of higher education, the percentage of allocations for higher education in the general budget, the total number of external students, and the number of business administration institutes were among the other criteria for making the Kingdom occupy top position. The launch in September 2009 of a graduate university in Saudi Arabia, The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), which will have a US $ 10 billion endowment the sixth largest in the world.

Slide 38:Qatar..leading university-industry alliance Qatar has officially opened its US$800 million science park, hoping to attract start-up enterprises in the fields of energy, environment, health sciences, and information and communication technology. The park has an innovation and technology transfer centre and an emerging technology centre, which aim to encourage the transfer of technology, knowledge and skills to technology-based companies, and incubate start-up enterprises.

Slide 39: 'US$1 billion Higher education city' in Bahrain a boost for Middle East science The facility, to open by early 2010, will encourage educational innovation to fill the skills gaps in labour markets. It will eventually include laboratories, an international centre for research, a specialist academy as well as branches of foreign universities The first Internet-based 'e-University' for Asia and the Middle East.

Slide 40:The Dubai International Academic City

It will comprise universities and research and development centres from developing countries, such as India, Iran and Pakistan, as well as industrialized countries, such as Australia, Belgium and the United Kingdom. US$10 billion Foundation to narrow 'Arab knowledge gap' The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation will establish scientific research centres in Arab universities, offer research grants to Arab researchers

Slide 41:The way forward..

The Wests dominance over the world is undoubtedly because of its progress and seemingly unbeatable lead, as of now, in science and technology. IDB member countries should not continue to be a group of developing countries forever and getting to a higher status requires the improvement of their abundant resources that are human capital. The Muslim world can aspire to reach that stage only by identifying its existing human resources and reaching a level of about 3000 Ph.Ds per million population as the west has, i.e. 11-fold increase in the present number. No OIC member-state has currently a plan for that target. However, by pooling their resources, human as well as material, they can hope to get somewhere near the target after some decades. In addition, Islamic countries should achieve at least 14 percent of the world's scientific output by the year 2020 through increased investments in science and technology including research and development, of at least 1.4 percent of their respective Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2020 as mentioned in the guiding principle in steering science and technology for the next two decades for the Islamic world adopted under what is regarded as "Vision 1441 (2020)," that produced by OIC conference on Science and Technology (S&T) 2003.

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