IIE Networker - Spring 2009 - (Page 28)

SPECIAL FOCUS ON QATAR The Community College of Qatar: A New Initiative to Meet Emergent National Educational and Labor Market Goals By Ibrahim S. Alnaimi and J. P. Das SINCE 1995, THE State of Qatar has undertaken significant changes in all sectors of its educational system. The current ruler, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al- Thani, assumed power that year and set out to rapidly bring the country into the international mainstream while preserving the cultural heritage of the people. The use of wealth generated from the nation’s oil and gas reserves to fund education is by all measures a worthwhile social goal. We must also note that the government realized the prestigious U.S. universities to operate in Doha’s Education City. The institutional autonomy and distinctive academic mission of each university has been guaranteed on the basis of long-term agreements with QF, but all of them are dedicated to creating high-quality educational programs for the youth of Qatar, the region, and the world. The state decided in 2002 to create another new high-level entity to bring about reforms and encourage innovation within the existing educational system. The government founded The creation of two new organizations, Qatar Foundation and the Supreme Education Council, both headed by HH Sheikha Mozah, has been key to implementing envisioned changes. need for the nation’s educational system to prepare well-educated personnel to assure the economic well-being of the nation in the decades ahead. New educational developments were initiated with the help of international organizations, side by side reforms and innovations in existing institutions. We would like to note in passing that the vision for these extraordinary changes has come from the Consort of the Emir, Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned. The newest initiative is the creation of the Community College of Qatar, which is expected to begin delivering instructional and training programs by late 2009. In this article, we will fi rst briefly summarize recent changes, placing the mission of the new college within the wider perspective of national goals, and then review college development plans. The creation of two new organizations, Qatar Foundation (QF) and the Supreme Education Council (SEC), both headed by HH Sheikha Mozah, has been key to implementing the envisioned changes. Qatar Foundation is the non-profit coordination agency for higher education that was created in 1995 to initiate new changes; it has attracted six 28 Community College Steering Committee to guide the development of the two-year institution modeled primarily on the U.S. community college. The “two-year college” concept, where the institution acts as a midway home for students transitioning from secondary school to college/university also has roots in other countries under differing names. The committee will also examine and adopt key innovations that will suit the educational ethos of this country. The project aims to begin offering classes by September 2009, with January 2010 as the fallback date. The Steering Committee is cognizant of the fact that the mission of the community college has grown significantly over the past three decades in the U.S. The goals of the project are three-fold: • General Education/Liberal Studies Fields including arts and sciences, humanities and social sciences. These programs lead to one-year certificates and twoyear degrees that are accredited and facilitate the transfer of college credits to universities, applicable towards bachelor’s degrees. • Specialized Programs Fields such as engineering technologies, medical studies/health sciences, information technology and business/finance. These programs will meet the needs of employers and be transferable to quality universities, enabling students to obtain bachelor’s degrees if they so desire. • Developmental Studies These programs will strengthen the knowledge and skills of students to perform well in basic college-level work, while enabling them to acquire transferable credits towards degree programs of their choice. To ensure rapid development, the Steering Committee will report to the SEC Secretary-General, HE The Minister of Education and Higher Education. Chairing the committee is a former President of Qatar University (QU); holding a doctorate in the Supreme Education Council (SEC) to gradually replace the more than 175 existing government schools with a decentralized system of modern independent schools modeled partly on the charter school concept. Around 85 schools have been established thus far, and the process is expected to be completed by 2012. The SEC has also created a new Scholarship System to send meritorious students to selected universities of repute around the world. The Community College of Qatar is the latest innovation to originate in the SEC. Why did the SEC find it necessary at this time to create a community college in Qatar? While all the changes outlined above have encouraged the bright and the meritorious student, another institution was needed to meet the needs of students who need additional encouragement and support in order to succeed in college. The Community College of Qatar will provide the same collegiate environment that has created success stories in the lives and careers of countless individuals in the U.S., and produce well-trained mid-level professionals. Envisioned on the basis of a study conducted in early 2008, the Supreme Education Council has created a high-powered

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Networker - Spring 2009

IIE Networker - Spring 2009
 Message from Allan E. Goodman
 IIENetworker University Presidents Interview Series: Edward Guiliano, President of New York Institute of Technology
 Best Practices in International Education: 2009 Andrew Heiskell Awards
 HRH Princess Ghida Talal of Jordan Receives IIE Humanitarian Award
 Qatar's Outstanding Schools Initiative: A New Model for International Linkages in Education
 The Community College of Qatar: New Initiative to Meet Emergent National Educational and Labor Market Goals
 Toward a UAE Liberal Studies Stream
 New York University Abu Dhabi and the Research University as Global Network
 Expanding Education Abroad in the Arab World
 The Middle East as a Study Abroad Destination
 Student Flows from the Middle East: Iranian and Saudi Arabian Students in the United States
 The Desert as Meeting Place: Where Students from the Middle East and Around the World Come Together
 A Race to the Top: Helping Jordan Win the Right Race
 The Browser: Index of Advertisers
 IIE Program Profile: IIE's Work in the MENA Region

IIE Networker - Spring 2009