Post-event Report

QS-MAPLE, The Future of Higher Education in the Middle East and Africa

7th QS-MAPLE – an overwhelming success

One of the biggest higher education events in the Middle East and Africa, QS-MAPLE, was held last week in the UAE. The 7th QS-MAPLE (Middle East and Africa Professional Leaders in Education) conference and exhibition was a great opportunity for the 352 academics and university presidents that had come from as many as 38 countries – representing 127 institutions – to partake in discussions on this year’s theme of Future of Higher Education in Middle East and Africa. The event was held – in collaboration with Higher Colleges of Technology and Amity University Dubai – from 1–3 May 2017 at Dubai World Trade Centre.

The event comprised a main conference with parallel and plenary sessions, featuring general and specific aspects of international higher education with keynote addresses by leading authorities on higher education, as well as an exhibition where various institutions put their offerings and excellence on display. A variety of topics were discussed at the conference with the participation of top-notch speakers from around the world, including Prof Claudette H Williams on quality assurance, and Prof Howard Thomas on global management education. A total of 63 papers were presented.

Of special significance were the QS Squared Debates and the QS Rankings Masterclass. QS Squared Debate revolves around the idea of creating an exciting and interactive engagement of the academia that leads to a more objective understanding of the reality of higher education trends. As a response to the enthusiasm of the higher education community in the region, this year the conference featured two debates on two different topics: “International higher education focuses on Western educational culture to the detriment of other cultural approaches”, and “Female academics are severely underrepresented in higher education.” Ben Sowter, head of QS Intelligence Unit, together with John O’Leary, editor of The Times Good University Guide, delivered the QS Rankings Masterclass, on the first day of the conference, which received an overwhelming attendance by university rankings enthusiasts who had waited a year for the opportunity.

Countries represented at the conference included Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Egypt, France, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.

Finally, a number of universities were awarded QS Stars rating certificates at the conference: Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (five stars), University of Jordan (four stars), Hindustan University (three stars) and Lyceum of the Philippines University (three stars).