If we look at the education scene around the world we will see a buzz of activities, from new startups, to huge amount of research, international collaborations, student exchange, faculty exchange, innovations, new programmes and most importantly seeking international students.  Most if not all of the universities are looking closely at the rankings, and of these many organisations have become known for their genuine ranking methodologies.  To mention a few, there is Times higher education, QS, good university guide, The Telegraph, Shanghai Jia tong, and many others, this link from Wikipedia will show all of the ranking bodies:

Most of these rankings are free, and they are carried out for the good of humanity, so students can choose without bias.  the criteria used mostly focus on academic reputations, research, student teachers ratio, staff with PHD, number of citations and employability of students.  Of course there are many more criteria, as each ranking body will boost to be the best as it increases the number of criteria used.


Off late the Arab universities are being ranked, but to reach the level of international universities many criteria needed to be adhered to, for example the Arab universities must have international students, international faculty, web presence, citations, research etc.


I am not going into the methodology of rankings, nor what the universities had done to achieve the ranks, all I am going to list here is the number of universities ranked by country:

Bahrain 3

Egypt 15

Iraq 10

Jordan 9

Kuwait 1

Lebanon 11

Morocco 3

Oman 4

Palestine 3

Qatar 1

Saudi Arabia 18

Sudan 2

Tunisia 5

UAE 13

Yemen 1


You can see that there are lots of Arab countries that are missing from the list.  Also you can see that some very small countries like Bahrain and Lebanon had achieved more ranks than countries like Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.  The number of universities is not in sync with the amount of money/resources the country has, nor it is in sync with the number of people that live in that country, for example Egypt has over 86 million people, and Saudi Arabia is over 30 million people.  The sheer size of these countries require more universities, and that too more ranked universities, however that is a real pity, as have the most resources, oil, and most importantly people.


If you look at the world ranking, you will find very few Arab universities ranked amongst the top 200, in fact there are non, and in the top 500 you will find maybe three or four.


What is our real issue here? I wonder.