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Four Arab Country Educational Systems Impacting the World

posted on: Apr 7, 2021

Education In the Arab World and How They Differ

By: Raneem Ghunaim/ Arab America Contributing Writer

Educational systems in the Arab world tend to stand out on their own but are often not recognized for their advancement and the amazing doctors who come out of their programs. Arab countries offer amazing opportunities for their students in order to succeed. In fact, there are many educational conferences found in the Arab world which attract scholars, researchers, and Arab professionals. These conferences attract individuals who come from different academic fields to exchange ideas and discuss possible challenges they might face as the world continues to advance. Here are four Arab countries impacting the world of education which we break down as we examine their different educational systems. 

(Keep in mind that there are 22 countries in the Arab world, and this article only examines four of them. It is not all-inclusive.)


Education In the Arab World and How They Differ
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

In 1962 the first university was created in Jordan called the University of Jordan. Many public and private universities started to rapidly increase in the late 70s early 80s. Then in the 90s, private schools started to go up in numbers. Some international universities found a home in Jordan in the late 90s. The University of Jordan has many academic departments, one of which is called “King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.” It includes computer science majors, algorithms, computer architecture, computer networks, and many more. The University of Jordan offers bachelors, masters, and Ph.D. programs.

Teacher’s Award Ceremony

Educational Systems In the Arab World and How They Differ
Queen Rania Speaking at Teacher’s Award Ceremony

Many of the Jordanian international schools, both public and private, have adopted both the British and US educational systems. A lot of the local schools in Jordan have won awards to honor their hard work and dedication to the schools. There is a huge and respectable organization called “The Queen Rania Award for Excellence in Education,”  which advocates educational success and offers many opportunities for students. Giving numerous scholarships, grants, and awards, this organization does not forget about excellent educators who make a difference in the students’ school life. When having a solid support foundation, expect nothing but excellence from upcoming students and people seeking education.


Education In the Arab World and How They Differ
Dimashq University

One of the top universities in Syria is Damascus University, which has produced many talented people who have changed the lives of others. One of these people is Dr. Suhail Al Najjar who is an incredible neurologist. He studied in Damascus schools and was born in the capital. Dr. Najjar graduated from Damascus University with a neurosurgery degree in 1983. He specializes in general neurology and lived in Damascus for a while before moving to the US where he continued his research at Albany University in New York. He presently works at the Staten Island University Hospital with over 21 years of experience.

Another very well-known doctor who studied and graduated from Damascus University was Dr. Adnan Abdallat, who is one of the best neurosurgeons in the world. Dr. Abdallat was the one to discover Abdallat Syndrome. Along with that, in 2012, he was able to research a new technique that helps reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s. 

As a whole, Syria is known for its proper education, however, its educational system for all medical fields is in Arabic. This can be problematic if one wanted to apply for a job outside of Syria. Degrees that are received in Arabic are not certified by the US and many other countries. Syrian doctors or med students seeking to be a working doctor have to redo their education if they want to pursue a medical career in a different country. 

National Center For The Distinguished

Education In the Arab World and How They Differ
National center for the distinguished graduation ceremony in 2016

Education in Syria may not have advanced technology, but students still manage to top all their classes. Even with the current situation and obstacles that appear along the way, students manage to take advantage of every opportunity that knocks on their door. “National center for the distinguished” is a Syrian specialized center that teaches outstanding students in Syria. This center was opened in 2008, and gives students the proper funding and care they require.

At this center, unlike regular schools in Syria, technology plays a big part in the building. When walking into large classrooms one will find many computer labs that are there for the students to use. There are smart boards in every classroom and they heavily depend on the internet when researching. Along with advanced language labs, one can find many outdoor areas and resources to encourage students to learn and feel comfortable along the way. There are many labs for STEM majors as well as everything else imaginable. 


Baghdad University entrance

Baghdad University was established in the 50s (1957), however, the university’s roots came from way back when it was first built was in 1067. It was called The School of Islamic Sciences. It was during the time of Imam Abu Hanifa, but it did not take the shape of a university until 1908. Its first college was established at that time and was called “The School of Law,” which was the main structure for the university.

In 1956, Jamiat Al-Hikmah was established, through the Roman Catholic fathers. Iraq was one of the most advanced Arab countries when it came to education. People would come from all over the world for that reason. Unfortunately, due to the war that has been going on for years, the educational system, and just education in general, is not the best. Students often struggle to go to school because of the harsh reality of their situations. It was once one of the best places to get high education. Hopefully, one day that will change.

United Arab Emirates 

Education In the Arab World and How They Differ
An inspiring quote by Sheikh Zayed

The UAE is considered to be one of the more advanced Arab countries that care for technological development and education. In 1976, the first university was established, called the United Arab Emirates University. By the rule of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, he helped assist in establishing education in the UAE. Sheikh Zayed always advocated for better education. In the early 90s, many more universities began to make an appearance in Dubai and other gulf countries. Several international universities have also found a place in the UAE, such as RIT, American University, the British University,  Canadian University, and many more.

Through the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Sharjah was chosen to be the capital for Sharjah World Book Capital. Both public and international schools have had the highest ranks in the country with outstanding performances from the teachers and administrators. The UAE also has many organizations, such as Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic, for example, to help encourage students to do better and push their limits. A little-known fact, the UAE funds students regardless of citizenship, as long as the student proves to show outstanding academic performance, there are organizations to fund their educational needs.

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