Index to measure performance of education, training, research, technology innovation, health and economy sectors in the Arab world

Dubai, September 2, 2015: The Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation (MBRF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have announced the main pillars and the key mechanism of the Arab Knowledge Index, which was launched by MBRF in coordination with UNDP during the first edition of the Knowledge Conference organised last year under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the MBRF. The Arab Knowledge Index is designed to monitor the status of knowledge in the Arab world on a regular basis, and measure the progress towards knowledge based societies and economies in the region.

The main pillars of the index focus on seven vital sectors, namely: Higher Education; Pre-university Education; Technical and Vocational Education and Continuous Training; Information and Communications Technology; Scientific Research and Innovation; Economy; and Health and Sustainable Human Development. The performance of each of these sectors will be measured in each Arab country to build seven sub-indices for each sector.

A supervising committee, formed to oversee the process, includes a selection of top experts from five countries in the Arab world who will ensure the functioning of the index based on the seven sectors forming the ‘Knowledge Index Pillars’.

The pillars will be overseen by the following experts forming the committee: Higher Education – Dr. Ali Saeed Al Kaabi, Deputy Director of the UAE University for Students and Registration; Pre-university Education – Dr. Najwa Grace, Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the Higher Institute for Education and Continuous Training in Tunisia; Technical and Vocational Education and Continuous Training – Mr. Ali Hamdi, an expert accredited to the Arab Center for Human Resources Development; Information and Communication Technology – Dr. Yousry El-Gamal, Professor of Engineering and Computer Science and former Minister of Education in Egypt; Scientific Research and Innovation – Dr. Moatz Khurshid, former Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Egypt; Economy – Dr. Khaled Alwazani, Economic Expert from Jordan and Chairman of ESNAD; and Health and Sustainable Human Development – Dr. Sawsan Abdul Rahman, Professor of Public Health at the American University in Lebanon.

On the occasion, His Excellency Jamal bin Huwaireb, Managing Director of MBRF, said the Arab Knowledge Index reflects the vision of the UAE leadership and described it as the first initiative of its kind in the Arab region that adds to the successful track record of MBRF. “The Index will help double the efforts towards localisation of knowledge in the Arab world and contribute to development plans leading to the creation of better communities,” he said.

HE Bin Huwaireb said the Index will act as a scientific tool to measure knowledge in the Arab world and provide decision makers, experts and researchers with accurate data to help device policies that will usher in progress, well-being and prosperity for the people in the region

HE Bin Huwaireb pointed out that that the Index will look at each Arab country separately, taking into consideration national, historical and cultural aspects to arrive at its conclusions,. “The Index has a flexible format allowing it to cover several countries at different development levels. This is important considering that while a number of countries in the region have made significant advancements in their development journey, there are many others who are still lagging behind in a number of areas,” HE Bin Huwaireb said

Yakup Beris, Coordinator of Regional Programmes in the UNDP Arab Bureau, said the process of building the Arab Knowledge Index is under way with constant communication taking place between the central team members and the technical team. Work carried out by experts in each sector has been discussed over the course of several meetings which have helped develop a common vision on a number of issues, Beris said.

"At the moment, we are working with the members of the Supervisory and follow-up Committee to collect data, and analysing them to build sub-indices for each sector. These will be compiled to highlight the status of knowledge in the Arab world, leading to the Knowledge Index,” Beris said.

MBRF announced the Arab Knowledge Index during the first Knowledge Conference last year. The opening session of the conference was attended by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. The event attracted a large number of thought leaders and knowledge experts, including Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, and Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia