Tuesday 8, December 2015

Dubai – MENA Herald: Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation and the United Nations Development Programme announced during a press conference at the Knowledge Summit 2015 in Dubai the launch of the first edition of the Arab Knowledge Index, offering a systematic mechanism to monitor the status of knowledge in the Arab countries every year.

Speaking on the occasion, His Excellency Jamal bin Huwaireb, Managing Director of MBRF, said the findings of the Index are the outcomes of the persistent efforts undertaken throughout the year, including field research, in-depth studies and reviews and a series of workshops conducted in a number of Arab and international countries such as Morocco, Jordan, the US, France and the UK.

Thanking the UNDP for its strategic partnership, established through a series of knowledge reports focused on the Arab region, HE Bin Huwaireb said MBRF is keen to take this relationship to the next level with more initiatives and programmes that promote the values ​​of knowledge and innovation.

“A group of pioneers, experts and academics in the Arab world participated in the preparation of this valuable knowledge product, ensuring that the index functions according to scientific and statistical standards.  The indicator includes six main indices covering the most vital sectors that represent the knowledge levels in every country, which are Pre-university education; Higher education; Vocational education and training; Research & development and innovation; Information technology and communication; and Economic sector,” HE Bin Huwaireb said.

HE Bin Huwaireb said the index takes into account national, historical and cultural characters of each Arab country separately, and is flexible enough to be adopted in several countries with different development levels.

He also pointed out that the index does not aim to create classifications and rankings, but is a scientific tool that describes the status of knowledge in the Arab region, and establishes a road map for the economic and societal development strategies in the Arab world.

HE Bin Huwaireb stated that while this year the Arab Knowledge Index features only Arab countries, efforts are on to include all Islamic countries in the Index from next year onwards.

He said the index contains accurate and reliable information and these will be distributed to decision makers and universities in Arab as well as other countries in the region to encourage the nations to take the path of knowledge and innovation.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Sima Bahouth, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, and Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States in the UNDP, commended MBRF’s leading role in supporting knowledge and development in the Arab world, and said the Arab Knowledge Index will serve as a pragmatic tool to establish sustainable development in the region.

“We live in turbulent times and the region is losing focus in the area of knowledge, leading to spurt in extremism and other issues of concern. Qualitative education can help eradicate poverty and unemployment in the region and help establish development channels in the region,” Dr. Bahouth added.

Speaking at the press conference, Dr. Najoua Fezzaa Al Ghriss, Professor at the Higher Institute of Education and Continuous Training in Tunisia, and member of the Arab Knowledge Index Core Team, said that while most international indices have failed to look at the small details in the local innovation aspects and have focused mainly on the quality of economies to benchmark their findings, the Arab Knowledge Index is distinguished for keeping the human aspect in perspective.

Dr. Al Ghriss said the Arab Knowledge Index was prepared using scientific methodology to secure accurate data and after testing them in Arab countries. The preparation also involved collaboration with experts and consultants at the local and international levels, she said.

The Pre-university Education Index is based on the pillars of Knowledge Capital, Enabling Environments, General Developmental Context, and Administrative and Governance of Education System. Higher Education Index has Higher Education Inputs, Quality of Higher Education Process and Higher Education Outputs as the main pillars. Vocational Education and Training Index is based on the pillars of Labour Demand, Entrepreneurship, and Labour Supply.

Research and Development and Innovation Index is based on the pillars of Research and Development, Innovation, and Political, Economic, Social Environment and Infrastructure. Information and Communications Technology Index includes the pillars of Infrastructure Communication Cost as direct indicators and Education Quality, Scientific Research and Innovation, Knowledge Economy, Healthcare and Development as indirect indicators.

The Economy Index pillars are Organisational/Institutional Performance and Human Resources; Competitiveness and Creative Development of the Economic Structure; Economy-related Information and Communication Technology.

The Knowledge Summit 2015 is organized by MBRF, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The Summit is being held from December 7 to 9 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Dubai.