First of all this is not my first QS conference that I have attended and spoken in. And for those who don’t know QS is a company that is not very old but that had built a great reputation in terms of ranking universities around the world. Their compititors are Times higher, Shanghai Jiatong, and many others around the world. However what QS had done is involving the smaller universities and those under 50 years of age in the ranking process. They are very dynamic and appraochable in terms of knowing and talking to the head of the organisation as well as having a dialogue with them without being ignored. So they are very open which makes them a great company to collaborate with.
Every year they have a debate on something or the other, this year though the debate was so interesting! It was whether universities should PRODUCE graduates ONLY for employers! Well I am stressing the word produce and the word only as that had brought more debate than the debate itself. Of course everyone was opposing the statement as universities should help people in whatever they want, be it a job, or to research or to be an entrepreneur or just be at home and savor on what one studied.
Also what was interesting is that all of us neglected the fact that when one goes to university one doesn’t have to work with that major! People change and interests change so no matter what we study now few years down the road we can be doing anything. The jobs that were available twenty years ago are no longer relevant in our time so one must retrain!
So my idea for QS and the Arab world is this only, are the adult Arabs able to retrain? Can a 40 year old go to an Arab university and start afresh? Will he or she be able to cross credit some of the courses taken 20 years ago? I guess not.
So ranking Arab universities is one thing and making them compatible to their western counterparts is another.
Just a point for QS to ponder upon
I will let you know tomorrow what my subject of discussion is all about