Build your own path to quality, Iraq academy told

Report on Erbil conference highlights challenges facing Iraqi universities

September 5, 2013

A new report has highlighted the major challenges facing Iraq’s universities as they struggle to forge international partnerships and adopt robust systems of assessment, evaluation and quality assurance.

It draws on the results of a three-day conference organised by the New York-based Institute of International Education in collaboration with its Scholar Rescue Fund.

Held in Erbil earlier this year, it brought together about 160 Iraqi scholars, university leaders and government officials, along with international experts and representatives of the US Embassy. Presentations offered insights drawing on the experiences of the American University of Beirut, the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University Bloomington and California State University, Monterey Bay.

The report notes “a shared understanding that quality assurance is a ‘national issue’, not merely a university issue”, but warns that Iraq should “develop its own uniquely Iraqi model and culture of quality assurance” rather than adopt another country’s system wholesale.

Given that Iraqi higher education institutions had been “in many ways cut off from the international academic community” over the past few decades, the report flags up “a shared desire for expanding academic cooperation with the United States, including research collaboration, faculty and staff exchanges, and capacity building”.

It notes that many obstacles, including security, cultural differences and a lack of financial resources, pointed to a need for training on “‘how to get started’ with international partnerships and how to avoid paralysis in light of these often very serious challenges”.

Although the report stresses that educators in Iraq, like those elsewhere, are “grappling with how to best structure and deliver courses” to the “technologically savvy learners” of “the millennial generation”, they often had to contend with “infrastructure challenges such as internet access and bandwidth”.

In this context, it was crucial to “identify traditions in the current higher education culture” even when “advancing new objectives, approaches and techniques”.

matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Daniel Mitchell illustration (29 June 2017)

Academics who think they can do the work of professional staff better than professional staff themselves are not showing the kind of respect they expect from others

As the pay of BBC on-air talent is revealed, one academic comes clean about his salary

Senior academics at Teesside University put at risk of redundancy as summer break gets under way

Thorns and butterflies

Conditions that undermine the notion of scholarly vocation – relentless work, ubiquitous bureaucracy – can cause academics acute distress and spur them to quit, says Ruth Barcan

University of Oxford

Reinstatement of professor over age discrimination must force rethink over ‘unfair’ retirement rules, say campaigners