Artists for Peace
|Following the success of the Arab Gulf Programme for United Nations Development Organizations (AGFUND) in the field of human development, the President of AGFUND, HRH Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, had the idea of establishing the Arab Open University. Prince Talal studied the complex problems facing the education sector in the Arab World which threaten to hinder the nation's capacity to pursue its civilizational mission and achieve balanced human development.
Prince Talal particularly attentive to this national concern as he examined its consequences for the nation's future. He, therefore, instituted an extensive debate with numerous educational authorities and experts in order to overcome these problems and open up brighter prospects in the context of an educational project in line with the requirements of our time. Following consultations with the Secretary General of the Arab League and the Arab Ministers of Higher Education, HRH Prince Talal proposed the idea of establishing an Arab Open University. He also announced his willingness to sponsor and finance all Arab efforts to implement this idea. His Royal Highness' initiative met with great interest and appreciation in the Arab world and was welcomed in scientific circles. It was widely commended by the Arab media, thus demonstrated the importance attached to its implementation.
The need for the Arab Open University
The challenges facing higher education and the constant failure of Arab universities and higher institutes to absorb the thousands of students who finish their secondary studies have become crucial problems.
Furthermore, it would be very difficult to neglect the situation of teachers in Arab schools. Most of them are desperately need to develop their educational skills to adapt to the new methods of education, especially if we take into account the fact that a large number of teachers in the Arab world holds a diploma that is lower than a Bachelor degree.
Concerning Arab women, the progress achieved in the development of their educational level is still insufficient. Social and cultural constraints still hamper their effective and positive participation together with men in the development of their countries. The patriarchal system is still prevailing and limits the cultural progress of women in Arab societies.
The feasibility study for the Arab Open University project carried out in 1998 showed a shortage of 600,000 places in higher education establishments for secondary school. There is also an increasing demand for higher education from those entering the job market without a university degree (including teachers). They want to undertake university studies to acquire the necessary information and skills to improve their efficiency.
In addition to this, a large number of university graduates who already have jobs need to study recent developments and new technologies in their fields of specialization. Some of them even need rehabilitation to modify or change their specialization according to the needs of the job market.
The Arab Open University seeks, through distance learning using modern information and communication technologies, to make higher education and continuing education accessible to every willing and capable Arab citizen, whether residing in urban, rural, or remote areas, particularly Arab women, while keeping the costs to society within reasonable limits, with the aim of contributing to the training of a highly qualified Arab work force manpower in fields which are essential for national and regional development, conducting research, studies and consultations in these fields and generally contributing to advancement the Arab citizen's cultural, social and scientific knowledge.
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