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Engineering Education In The Arab Gulf States: Stagnation Versus Change

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

International Engineering Education II

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.482.1 - 7.482.14



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Paper Authors

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Waddah Akili

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Main Menu Session 3160

Engineering Education in the Arab Gulf States: Stagnation versus Change

W. Akili

Professor of Civil Engineering (retired)


The latter part of the twentieth century has witnessed an unprecedented economic, social, and technological change in many regions of the world. Perhaps, no region has experienced as dramatic a change as the states of the Arab Gulf region, referred to as the Arab Gulf States. These six neighboring states (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and The Sultanate of Oman) share common heritage, history, and language. Oil is the Region’s most valuable natural asset and production and revenues have increased dramatically in recent years, most notably since OPEC price rise in 1973.

Great strides since the early 1970s have been made in the provision of human services (health, education, and welfare) and in building infrastructures and urban sprawls, which are comparable in many ways, to those in North America. People’s lives have greatly changed in the Region, and modernization and western technologies have found their way to every village, town and city within the six States. The educational arena has also been greatly impacted at all levels. University education has also had its ample share of growth, expansion, and proliferation. Many public universities were established in the Region between 1960 and 1985. Except for Saudi Arabia where the public university system is comprised of several universities, there is today, at least one public university in each of the five other states. When compared to Saudi Arabia, these five States are considerably smaller in area and population.

The focus in this paper is on the colleges of engineering of the Region (Table 1). Eight colleges of engineering were founded through collaboration with institutions abroad, and each one of these colleges is in a university setting. Their declared mission is: to equip the young citizens of the Region with appropriate engineering “know how” and to enable the graduates to share in the technological change that has spread throughout the land.

Most of these eight colleges of engineering have fulfilled their mission admirably during the early period following their establishment. Graduates have occupied responsible positions mostly in government, and to a lesser extent, in the private sector. Some have finished higher degrees abroad and returned to serve as faculty members in their home institutions. A few have climbed the ladder all the way to the top to hold high-ranking positions, and some have become ministers.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Akili, W. (2002, June), Engineering Education In The Arab Gulf States: Stagnation Versus Change Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10087

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