QU President Dr Hassan Al Derham said, “Despite of many challenges, Qatar University has achieved over the last years numerous achievements in regional and international rankings. This success could not be achieved without the support of our wise leadership that initiated Qatar National Vision with the aim to establish a knowledge-based economy in Qatar by 2030. At Qatar University, we have completed the preparation of our new strategic plan and restructuring process towards maintaining excellence and quality assurance at the academic and administrative levels.” He added, “Is the necessity to define if ranking is a means or an end. In other words, does ranking lead towards more benefits or is it a means to define a university position among other academic institutions? At Qatar University, we have had many discussions to reach a clear and well-defined answer to this question. We believe that ranking is a means to compare our level of excellence with other academic institutions, to measure our research effectiveness, to evaluate our commitment in meeting the needs of the labor market, and to assess our relationship with regional and international partners. As part of its commitment to providing high-quality education in areas of national priority, Qatar University has been successful in its accreditation initiatives for its colleges and programs, and as we know, accreditation is an important key of performance measurement. Hence, quality assessment covers two factors: international ranking and academic accreditation.

He added, “Universities are established to lead societies and fulfill their ever-increasing academic and research needs. Are international rankings equally assessing the needs of societies by following a balanced approach? Do the ranking standards align with the needs of the emerging and developing countries? This is not a call to create specific rankings for each region because this may lead to a process of classification among universities. However, we aim to reconsider all ranking standards to make them more comprehensive and flexible, in line with the needs of the region. We have recently met with international ranking institutions from which we received feedback in this regard. Now, it is the time to get the view of IREG Observatory as an expert in the field of ranking, especially that IREG has various ranking interests that meet the objectives of Qatar University.” IREG Observatory President Dr Jan Sadlak said, “There are a number of reasons for the increased attention to excellence. They can be summarized in the following way; higher education became a key mechanism for economic and social development. As ranking is gaining importance in society, it is increasingly subject to competition and various expectations of the major stakeholders in higher education and science. The program of today’s conference includes a number of examples on how institutions are dealing with such challenges.” He added: “Similarly to the previous IREG meetings, this conference provides us with the opportunity to learn about the latest developments in academic ranking. I expect that this conference will be a good example of IREG Observatory’s overall organizational philosophy to identify improvement and innovation no matter of the local and international variances and practices.” The World Bank Lead Global Solutions Group on Tertiary Education and Lead Education Specialist for India Dr Francisco Marmolejo said, “This forum provides a platform to discuss the challenges that the higher education sector is facing on the global level and the impact of ranking. Ranking has put a tremendous pressure on higher education institutions for the wrong reasons and with the wrong tools. This creates an important challenge for higher education institutions.” The forum discussed a number of topics such as “Excellence in Higher Education and its role in Qatar National Vision 2030”, “Benefits and excesses in the use of rankings”, “Excellence in the context of cultural and economic transformations”, “Principles of “excellence” in various academic disciplines and institutional settings”. (QNA)

Source: Qatar News Agency