Educational Challenges For The Muslim Ummah In The 21st Century

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Speech by Professor Rafik Beekun at the 2009 Association of Muslim Scientists and Engineers Conference, Washington, DC, USA

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  • The proportion of enrollment in university in science and engineering versus humanities and social sciences could be viewed as another index of the “quality” of human capital at the level of higher education. The underlying assn is that scientists and engineers are likely to contribute more to economic growth than are social scientists and students of humanity because of the increasing importance of tech innovation and adaptation in the dvpt process. If this assn holds, please note that MENA countries have a high % of their univ students studying humanities and SS. In more than half of the MENA countries, about 2/3 of the students major in those fields and this is the opposite of what we observe in East Asia and to a lesser extent in Latin America
  • TIMSS: Trends in International Math and Science Study PISA – Programme for International Student Assessment
  • TIMSS is conducted by IEA (International Assoc for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement) and PISA is conducted by OECD (Org for Economic Cooperation and Development). There is a negative correl between GDP/Capita & academic performance. Even after a generation of high income from petroleum exports, apparently the academic level in these countries remains low.
  • TIMSS is conducted by IEA (International Assoc for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement) and PISA is conducted by OECD (Org for Economic Cooperation and Development). There is a negative correl between GDP/Capita & academic performance. Even after a generation of high income from petroleum exports, apparently the academic level in these countries remains low.
  • Responses to challenges Encourage the establishment of private colleges but hard argument. Establish a postsecondary medium level diploma and community college pgm that will run for 1-2 years. Centralized control Supreme Council of Higher Education No control of employment system
  • Educational Challenges For The Muslim Ummah In The 21st Century

    1. 1. Professor Rafik Beekun University of Nevada The Islamic Workplace Blog http://makkah.wordpress.com All rights reserved, copyrighted @2009 by Dr. Rafik Beekun
    2. 2. <ul><li>TIMSS or Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (1999, 2003 and 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>World Bank’s 2008 MENA Development Report: The Road Not Traveled: Education Reform in the Middle East and North Africa </li></ul><ul><li>UNESCO Institute for Statistics </li></ul><ul><li>Intel Science Fair 2009 results. </li></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li>Brings together best high school students in the world from 9 th through 12 th grade (about 1,500) from over 30 countries. </li></ul><ul><li>$1 million in scholarships, tuition grants, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Administered by Society for Science and the Public since 1950. </li></ul><ul><li>Incubator for future leading scientists and engineers and potential Nobel prize winners. </li></ul><ul><li>Results: no Muslim as the top winner in any category. </li></ul>
    4. 4. <ul><li>Illiteracy rate and poor standards (World Bank, 2008) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Best: Jordan & Kuwait </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Worst: Djibouti, Yemen, Iraq and Morocco </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Study of Arab league: 30% of Arab population are illiterate. </li></ul><ul><li>0.3% of GDP of Arab States is devoted to scientific research. </li></ul><ul><li>$5-7 per capita is spent on R&D in Arab States. </li></ul><ul><li>$1000 per capita is spent on R&D in China. </li></ul><ul><li>600 research centers in Arab world vs 1500 in France alone. </li></ul><ul><li>30% of scientists in the US are from Arab countries. </li></ul>
    5. 5. Area 1960 1980 2000 MENA 1.25 3.05 5.39 East Asia 3.44 5.4 7.28 Lat. Amer. 3.87 5.49 7.21
    6. 7. Country Unadjusted Test Scores Korea, Republic of 574 Malaysia 514 Lebanon 433 Jordan 426 Iran 420 Tunisia 420 Indonesia 409 Egypt 406 Morocco 362
    7. 8. Country Av Test Score GDP/Capita 2003 Secondary Gross Enrollment 2000 Malaysia 514 8,986 70 Lebanon 433 4,793 80 Jordan 426 4,081 87 Iran 420 6,608 77 Tunisia 420 6,765 77 Indonesia 409 3,175 57 Egypt 406 3,731 86 Bahrain 401 17,212 96 Kuwait 392 17,049 89 Morocco 362 3,783 40 Saudi Arabia 332 12,495 72 Int’l Average 489 Top perf countries 617
    8. 9. Country Mean Knowing Mean Applying Mean Reasoning Malaysia 478 476 467 Lebanon 448 464 429 Jordan 422 431 440 Iran 401 403 426 Tunisia 423 420 425 Indonesia 398 396 405 Egypt 393 392 396 Bahrain 402 394 413 Kuwait 361 347 N.A. Morocco 389 364 383 Saudi Arabia 335 307 N.A. Turkey 424 439 441 Singapore 593 581 579 United States 502 513 504
    9. 10. Country Mean Knowing Mean Applying Mean Reasoning Malaysia 473 458 487 Lebanon 422 402 420 Jordan 485 490 470 Iran 454 468 461 Tunisia 444 440 455 Indonesia 424 425 438 Egypt 403 434 395 Bahrain 467 468 468 Kuwait 416 429 410 Morocco 399 395 412 Saudi Arabia 403 417 359 Turkey 449 461 462 Singapore 567 553 564 United States 515 512 528
    10. 11. Country Primary Seconday Tertiary Malaysia 0.94 5.3 32.7 Lebanon 64.7 51.9 49.3 Jordan 29.9 16.6 24.7 Iran 4.3 5.7 54.1 Tunisia 1.0 3.9 0.4 Indonesia 16.3 42.9 65.2 Egypt 8.0 5.5 16.5 Kuwait 32.3 27.6 ___ Morocco 5.5 4.6 5.1 Saudi Arabia 6.9 7.3 7.4 MENA Overall 19.8 13.7 23.6 East Asia 8.2 22.8 52.5 Lat. America 20.8 25.5 49.6
    11. 12. <ul><li>In the case of Saudi Arabia, average student skill during school is low and this has had a significant influence on the caliber of students opting for university. In 2007, an international mathematics and science study ( Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study ) of 8th graders revealed that KSA high school students overwhelmingly demonstrated below benchmark levels of skill (little or no skill) in mathematics (82%) and science (48%). </li></ul>
    12. 13. <ul><li>Challenges </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rising demand to admit more students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Difficulties in meeting outcome quality in relation to work force needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Difficulties in securing more resources. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Opportunities Missed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Centralized Control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Privatization of higher education not an option </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No independent higher education accrediting and evaluating system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor treatment of female and expatriate university faculty. </li></ul></ul>
    13. 14. <ul><li>% of children completing primary school = 63% </li></ul><ul><li>Literacy rate among youths = 69.2% </li></ul><ul><li>Pupil/teacher ratio = 40 </li></ul><ul><li>% of government spending on education = 11.2% </li></ul>M/F Primary Enrolment M/F Secondary Enrolment M/F Tertiary Enrolment 92% 33% 5%
    14. 15. Country Primary Enrolmt Second Enrolmt Tertiary Enrolmt Literacy Youths (%) Pupil-teacher Ratio % govt exp on Ed Pakistan 92 33 5 69.2 40 11.2 Jordan 96 89 40 99 20 20.6 Saudi Arabia 98 94 N.A. 97 11 27.6 Palestine 80** 92 46 99 30 N.A.
    15. 16. <ul><li>MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Linkage between education and skills relevant for labor market is weak vs knowledge economy. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decrease in mortality and increase in life expectancy led to a population bubble with ½ of arab population now under 30, and system is overloaded. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality of education is poor—as shown by TIMSS & PISA Scores—because </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No culture of assessment and accountability in education </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Morocco and Egypt have large populations but relatively low investments in education </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No partnerships with private sector or communities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Issue of governance and control </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Teaching model is obsolete and elitist with low flexibility </li></ul></ul></ul>
    16. 17. <ul><li>PAKISTAN </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Apartheid in the education system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Private sector education where English is the teaching medium and a fee range of Rs 100 to Rs 8000. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public sector education where schools are lacking because of lack of teachers, and where girls sometimes have no schools (Daily Times, 2004). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reliance on Madrassas because of messy state school structure. </li></ul></ul>
    17. 18. <ul><li>How can we address this issue?  How do we bring together our best thinkers nationally and internationally to brainstorm and develop a strategic plan? </li></ul><ul><li>Should we work with other national Muslim organizations or should we proceed alone? </li></ul><ul><li>We cannot address all areas of science and technology.  Where should we focus first for our young students? </li></ul><ul><li>What country or countries do we start with first? </li></ul>

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