ISLAMIC STATES: Network to improve quality assurance

The Islamic States has approved the creation of a network for quality assurance and accreditation of higher education institutions to promote creativity, innovation and research and development.

The network was proposed by Malaysia and announced at the 36th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the 57 Member States of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, held in the Syrian capital Damascus late last month.

It is intended to strengthen quality assurance of institutions in the Islamic region and to enhance cooperation between similar bodies in other regional and international organisations.

Hassanuddeen Abd Aziz, head of a quality assurance unit in the faculty of economics and management sciences at the International Islamic University Malaysia, said the Islamic world urgently needed such a network to raise the level of its poor-quality universities. Aziz said that out of 1,700 universities in the Islamic world, only Istanbul University in Turkey was included in the top 500 in last year's academic ranking of world universities.

He said that although many institutions from developing countries such as Mexico, Brazil, India, South Africa and Argentina were included in the top 500 in ranking of scientific papers, no single university from the 57 Islamic countries was mentioned. The entire Muslim world comprised one-fifth of humanity but had less than 1% of its scientists who generated less than 5 % of its science and made barely 0.1 % of the world's original research discoveries each year.

The Islamic countries had a negligible percentage of patent registrations in the US, Europe and Japan. Even more serious was the fact that the R&D manpower of Muslim countries was only 1.18% of the total science and technology manpower.

"The Islamic world has recently launched a number of projects to reform universities," said Hassan Moawad Abdel Al, former President of Mubarak City for Scientific Research and Technology Applications in Alexandria in Egypt.

These included a project titled "achieving excellence in science and technology higher education" that aimed at building and retaining a critical mass of world-class scientists and technologists in targeted science and technology areas, promoting relevant research and development outcomes as well as improving scientific, technological and innovative capacities of institutions.

With reference to the article ISLAMIC STATES: Network to improve quality assurance, Hassanuddeen Abd Aziz, head of the Quality Assurance Unit said that out of 1,700 universities in the Islamic World, only Istanbul University of Turkey was included in the top 500 in the last academic ranking of world universities.

With due respect, the fact is that last year 19 universities within the Islamic world were among the 500 top universities of the world (

The National University of Sciences and Technology in Pakistan and the Istanbul University of Turkey stood on the same rank at 376.

As an evidence, here is the list of universities from the Islamic world which were ranked among top 500 by THE-QS:

Universities of Islamic World

2008 Rank 2007 Rank School Name Islamic Country
230 246= Universiti MALAYA (UM) Malaysia
250 309= Universiti Kebangsaan MALAYSIA (UKM) Malaysia
287 395 University of INDONESIA Indonesia
313 307= Universiti Sains MALAYSIA (USM) Malaysia
315 369= BANDUNG Institute of Technology Indonesia
316 360= Universitas GADJAH MADA Indonesia
320 364= Universiti Putra MALAYSIA (UPM) Malaysia
338 - KING FAHD University of Petroleum & Mine... Saudi Arabia
356 401-500 Universiti Teknologi MALAYSIA (UTM) Malaysia
374 401-500 ISTANBUL Technical University Turkey
376 401-500 National University of Sciences and Tech... Pakistan
376 390 ISTANBUL University Turkey
408 CAIRO University Egypt
432 KOC University Turkey
437 SABANCI University Turkey
440 University of LAHORE Pakistan
469 CUKUROVA University Turkey
479 University of TEHRAN Iran
490 University of CAMBRIDGE United Arab Emirates
496 AIRLANGGA University Indonesia

Zainub Qadir