The scholarship programmes on higher education increase higher education opportunities for young people and adults in developing countries. It also promotes access to international higher education opportunities that contribute to building capacities, transfer and adaptation of global knowledge and technologies to local conditions. Distribution of scholarships should take into consideration equity, inclusion and quality, targeting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Most of the scholarships for developing countries target science and technology fields such as science, technology, engineering, ICT, teacher education and vocational programmes. In addition, they are used to promote girls and women participation in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The priority goal setting for all the countries to achieve SDG 4 as stated in Target 4.4b on scholarship grants is that,
“By 2020, substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries “
The emphasis of Education 2030 agenda is to have targeted scholarship programmes to the developing countries, especially for marginalized and disadvantaged populations including, women and people with disabilities. The policy brief outlines the context, situational analysis and policy recommendations on
global availability of scholarships. It provides the Arab States Region with information and strategies that will guide policy makers to determine targets and actions for expansion of the number of scholarships for enrolment in higher education.
Context The Arab state region consists of 19 countries that are in four categories: Developed, least developing countries, Mashreq and Maghreb. The developed countries are: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman; The Least Developing Countries (LDC) are; Mauritania, Sudan and Yemen. The category of Mashreq countries are; Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria. Maghreb includes Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia.
Since the year 2000, the Arab States Region countries have made considerable progress in achieving the Education for All goals. However, the most significant challenge to progress in education is conflict, which exacerbates inequality, poverty, exclusion and marginalization and in particular access to quality education. In this context, this policy brief analyses and discusses the situation on the expansion of the number of scholarships for enrolment in higher education in the Arab States Region.
Situation Analysis The area of focus for target 4b of the education 2030 agenda is education scholarships for higher education. The progress in the target is to be measured based on tow indicators: 1) number of higher education scholarships awarded by beneficiary country; and 2) volume of official development assistance (ODA) flows for higher education scholarships by beneficiary country.
Higher education institutions in the Arab states have adapted programmes for internal and external programmes to facilitate the pursuit of bright students’ graduate studies. In 2010-2011, an average of US$3.2 billion in aid was allocated annually to scholarships and student-imputed costs, equivalent to a quarter of total aid to education.i According to the 2015 GMR, the aid to higher education decreased by 6% in the Arab Region in 2012. However, this volume was higher than aid allocated to basic education. The target is to provide scholarships for low income earners. For instance, in Kuwait put in place a development plan that targets to offer 10,000 scholarships over 5 years. These strategy led to a doubling of the number of students enrolled and increased the enrolment of females in higher education.
Policy Recommendations A set of strategic approaches are proposed to inform actions to deliver and monitor progress towards provision of higher education scholarships in the Arab States Region. The proposed strategies in this target focus on availability of higher education scholarships.
i. Put in place mechanisms for provision of higher education scholarships Countries should have mechanisms, programmes and policies for higher education programmes that reflect national development contexts, priorities and plans. Encourage country-based philanthropy for scholarship opportunities to talented youths and also targeting the disadvantaged youth.
ii. Develop programmes for diaspora student return to home country It is important that countries develop programmes that motivate students to return home after completing education and encourage exchange programmes.
UNESCO,2015 a). Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2015. Education for All 2000-2015: Acheivements and Challenges. UNESCO,2015 b). Education for All Regional Synthesis Report 2015. National Reviews in the Arab States Region. UNESCO, 2011. Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2011. The Hidden Crisis: Armed Conflict and Education.