Minister of Higher Education Dr. Khalid Al-Angary, addressing a seminar in Doha, Qatar yesterday, highlighted the role of universities in preparing young people to serve their society and confront the challenges of the future. Citing annual expenditure on education worldwide, Dr. Al-Angary said that the allocation in most Arab countries is about $340 per student, and sometimes this is less than $200; in the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, however, the figure is $1,300. This, he added, is still far behind the $6,000 average for certain industrialized countries. Commenting on obstacles that impede the development of higher education in the Arab World, he referred to lack of modern technology, saying nearly 60 percent of Arab countries do not have national networks for its transfer, and Arab universities are slow to catch up on scientific advances.
Dr. Al-Angary went on to warn against "brain drain", saying about 750,000 Arab scientists currently reside in non-Arab countries. He also noted that Arab universities face inadequate financial allocations and a lack of good preparation for academic staff and researchers. Underlining the importance of specialization in scientific subjects, he deplored the fact that more than half of all graduates opt to specialize in social and human studies.