Nov 22, 2016 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

The quality of higher education in the Islamic states is positioned to get a boost thanks to a recently announced initiative from the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO). Dubbed the TAFAHUM Project on Students and Faculty Exchange among Islamic World Universities, the program -- which launched its pilot phase during ISESCO’s Executive 37 Council last month -- seeks to enhance both educational offerings and innovation within the region.

Aiming for Excellence

While a recent report from the Muslim World Science Initiative, Science at Universities of the Muslim World, indicates that science education is on the upswing in the Islamic states, the region’s universities and research institutes still lag behind global averages on indexes of innovation and knowledge economy.

With an eye on penetrating top university rankings, the TAFAHUM Project aims to boost science and technology through improved information exchange and research collaboration between students and faculty.

A Push for Personal Development

The exciting initiative also prioritizes the cultivation of soft skills, including better cultural understanding, aimed at improving both citizenship and employability among the region’s youth. To that end, the program will feature a student exchange component as well as a new credit transfer system featuring homogeneous curricula and qualification recognition across institutions, along with quality assurance measures to go along with it.

At the launch ceremony in Morocco, ISESCO Director General Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri declared the project to be a major milestone for Islamic higher education. He also expressed hopes to extend TAFAHUM following the conclusion of the pilot year. According to ISESCO’s website, “This would ultimately ensure a healthy upbringing for the rising student generations, based on solidarity, cooperation, partnership and pride in belonging to common cultural, spiritual and civilization origins."

Interested in learning more about ISESCO’s recent session and the TAFAHUM Project? Read the event’s Final Report here.

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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