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8 Apr, 2012

Islamic World Plans Education/Research Network


RABAT, 3 April (IINA)-Capitalizing on young talents in the Arab and Muslim world, a pan-Islamic group is planning an education and research network to enhance cooperation between talented Arab and Muslim youth.

“A pan-Islamic research and education network will provide a helping hand in quickly translating the initiative for an Islamic space for higher education into a regional e-infrastructure dedicated to e-science and education across the Islamic world,” Hassanuddeen Abd Aziz, dean of the centre for postgraduate studies at the International Islamic University Malaysia, told the University World News.

An agreement was signed signed last month during the Connect Arab Summit in Qatar to establish a pan-Islamic research and education network spanning the 57 countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The network was first proposed to link the research and education networks in Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sudan and Turkey. It aims to overcome shortage in research and education networks in various Islamic countries.

Along with the research network, a wide range of ambitious information and communication technology (ICT) projects to enhance e-education access and stimulate innovation by 2015 was also endorsed. These projects included technological networks, educational centers, an online university and a virtual academy.

The projects also include an online university for postgraduate studies in sustainable development and ICT and an ICT training academy. Other pan-Arab projects include a pan-Arab telemedicine network, an Arab innovation exchange network, an Arab innovation labs network, an Arab science and technology portal, and Arab e-science resources management.

Experts believe the application of these projects will transform the Islamic world into a major technology hub. “The energy in this region testifies to the Arab world’s transformation into a major technology hub and a pre-eminent force in the global ICT industry,” Hamadoun Touré, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union, told ITU’s Connect Arab Summit in Doha.

“A growing number of the world’s most exciting new ICT companies are now based here, and I confidently predict that within the next 10 years, the ICT sector could become our single biggest employer of young talent,” he said.

Mohammed Kuchari, associate professor of microbiology at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, agrees. “These initiatives, if correctly implemented, will provide cost-effective technological tools for enhancing e-access to higher education,” he told University World News. “(It would also) facilitate knowledge exchange and technology transfer across the Arab region.”