15 IAS Science Conference Declaration PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 06 March 2011 22:42

IAS 2006 ANKARA DECLARATION on Higher Education Excellence for Development in the Islamic World, Adopted at Ankara, Turkey on 17 Shawwal 1427, 9 November 2006


  PREAMBLE
1. WHEREAS the quest for knowledge is a pillar of the Islamic Faith; and knowledge and its pursuit have today assumed augmented importance in an increasingly knowledge-intensive world;
2. WHEREAS there is increased awareness of the critical role higher education plays in socioeconomic development; and for building a sustainable future, for which future generations need to be equipped with new skills, knowledge and ideals;

3. WHEREAS in OIC countries in particular and developing countries in general; higher education is faced with great challenges related to financing, staff development, skills-based training, enhancement and preservation of quality in teaching, research and services, relevance of programmes;

4. WHEREAS higher education is being confronted by new opportunities relating to technologies that are improving the ways in which knowledge is produced, managed, disseminated, accessed and controlled;

5. WHEREAS Vision 1441 declares that OIC-Member countries are committed to become a community that values knowledge and is competent in utilizing and advancing S&T to enhance the socioeconomic well-being of the Ummah;’

6. AND WHEREAS the international science/academic community must lead the way in bridging prevailing civilisational, social, economic, and even political divides between the peoples of the world,

THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE 15TH ISLAMIC WORLD ACADEMY OF SCIENCES CONFERENCE HELD AT BILKENT UNIVERSITY IN ANKARA, TURKEY; 07-10 NOVEMBER 2006:
7. BEING CONCERNED by the indifference shown by decision-makers in many OIC countries to the pivotal role of quality higher education in realising national aspirations;

8. NOTING WITH CONCERN the fact that very few OIC universities are ranked among the world’s top 500 universities;

9. BEING CONCERNED at the lack of a comprehensive, objective methodologies to evaluate the performance of universities in OIC countries in terms of quality of education and research output,

MOREOVER

10. APPRECIATING that in responding to the growing demands of the market-forces of the K-economy, a fresh look is needed to re-examine higher education systems in OIC and developing countries in terms of quality and relevance;

11. SUBSCRIBING to the notion that quality in higher education is a multilayered process, which should embrace all its functions and activities including: teaching and academic programmes, research and scholarship, staffing, students, buildings and facilities, equipment, services to the community, and the academic milieu;

12. SUBSCRIBING to the notion that internal self-evaluation and external review, openly carried out by autonomous specialists are vital for enhancing quality. Independent national bodies, involving all stakeholders, should be established and comparative standards of quality, recognized at the international level, should be defined. Due attention should be paid to specific institutional, national and regional contexts;

13. AGREEING to the general notion that international higher education surveys such as the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Survey, the Times Higher Education Supplement Survey and other similar studies may not necessarily reflect the true 'assessment' of the university in its catchment area, although they may be indicative of certain criteria in which universities excel;

14. EMPHASIZING that higher education should be characterized by its international dimension: exchange of knowledge, interactive networking, mobility of academics and students, and international research projects, without forfeiting national cultural values and circumstances;

15. EMPHASIZING that to attain and sustain national, regional or international quality in higher education, certain components are particularly relevant; notably careful selection of staff and continuous staff development, in particular through the promotion of apposite programmes for academic staff development, including mobility between countries, between higher education institutions, and between higher education institutions and society/industry, as well as student mobility within and between countries. Information and Communication technologies (ICTs) are a main tool in this process, owing to their impact on the acquisition of knowledge and know-how. Moreover, the Bologna Process –adopted by many European countries - represents a good model for harmonising academic degree standards and quality assurance standards throughout OIC countries/universities in this domain,

ENDORSE THIS DECLARATION AS A PROPOSAL FOR THE ATTAINMENT OF HIGHER EDUCATION EXCELLENCE IN MEMBER COUNTRIES OF THE ORGANISATION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE (OIC) AND OTHER DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, THUS:
16. ASSERT that the core mission of higher education should be to contribute to the sustainable development and improvement of the wellbeing of societies;

17. EMPHASIZE that higher education must endeavour to advance, create and disseminate knowledge through research and provide, as part of its service to the community, relevant expertise to assist societies in cultural, social and economic development, promoting and developing scientific and technological research as well as research in the social sciences;

18. ENDORSE the notion that higher education must help in understanding, preserving, enhancing, promoting national, and global cultures, in a context of pluralism and diversity;

19. REITERATE that higher education should aim to cultivate and enhance societal values by training young people in the values which form the basis of democratic citizenship and by providing critical and detached perspectives to assist in the reinforcement of humanistic perspectives;

20. EMPHASIZE the key roles played by contemporary applied and basic sciences education for gaining mastery in the transformational technologies of information technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology; as well as environmental and even cultural technologies;

21. REAFFIRM the commitment to the implementation of specific actions at the national and international levels including, inter alia, commitment at the highest level to S&T; sizeable increase in R&D expenditure, and the promotion of the central role of the university as originator of scientific output. New approaches are necessary to enhance greater linkage between the government, the university and industry;

22. COMMEND the success of Turkey in achieving an advanced ranking in terms of the number of scientific and engineering articles published in the world’s leading scientific and technical journals, and urges universities and research centres in OIC countries to help and encourage researchers to increase their quality contributions to the world's scientific output;

23. CALL FOR the exchange of scientific experiences and of technologies with a view to intensifying cooperation and delivering real benefits among countries, especially involving countries that have developed significant expertise in S&T policy development, S&T infrastructure, biotechnology, information technology, and nanotechnology,

AND
24. CALL UPON OIC countries to ensure that that the pursuit of science must not only focus on the attainment of knowledge but also on realising socioeconomic goals;

25. CALL UPON the concerned agencies to implement the necessary practical modalities for the implementation of the recommendations of this Declaration in close co-ordination with the relevant OIC bodies and other agencies, and through:
(i) Setting up of virtual working groups on higher education; to develop a methodology of ranking of OIC universities; to peer review project proposals submitted for financing; to co-ordinate fund raising nationally, regionally and internationally to help leading OIC universities come up in world rankings over a specific period of time;

(ii) Activating virtual working groups on ICT, biotechnology and nanotechnology, to be hosted (it is proposed) by Malaysia, Tunisia and Pakistan with a view to implementing the relevant OIC recommendations related to the promotion of these transformational technologies;

(iii) Setting up a study group to prepare a position paper/action plan entitled "Brain-Gain: Concept and Possible Remedies" for the benefit of OIC countries. This, as one means to understand this phenomenon and help turn the current "Brain – Drain" into a possible "Brain – Gain;"

(iv) Accelerate the provision of a quality core ICT infrastructure, increased access and reduced costs, and increase connectivity and physical access to ICT infrastructure, including the development and use of low cost hardware and software,

AND CALL UPON the leaders and decision-makers of Islamic countries to:
26. ALLOCATE more resources to science education, with a view to building up a scientific and technological human resource base capable of adapting and developing new technologies;

27. FACILITATE opportunities for scientists of the countries of the South in terms of under-graduate, post-graduate and post-doctorate studies in the North and other parts of the South as a means of building up the critical mass of scientists and technologists in poorer countries;

28. ESTABLISH national academies of sciences in their countries, or where such independent entities exist strengthen them, so that they may act as independent advisory bodies to their respective governments, and strengthen academic and scientific links with international science academies, and other scientific bodies worldwide;

29. ENCORAGE AND SUPPORT leadership in science at all levels, and to promote leadership training centres, and nurture future leaders who would contribute to better understanding and tolerance between the world's countries and civilisations,

AND FURTHER URGE THE RELEVANT NATIONAL OIC AGENCIES TO:
30. PROMOTE and enhance inborn curiosity and inquisitiveness among the young through developing a “creativity movement” at national levels to create conducive environment at the home, at school and the university, and to develop OIC-wide creativity programmes;

31. DEVELOP financial, business, and entrepreneurial skills through education and hands-on experience through in-school and after-school programmes, and through developing specialised post-school business skills programmes;

FURTHERMORE, THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE 15TH ISLAMIC WORLD ACADEMY OF SCIENCES CONFERENCE HELD AT BILKENT UNIVERSITY IN ANKARA, TURKEY; 07-10 NOVEMBER 2006:
32. REAFFIRM their support to the science community in Iraq and urge the international community to take all possible measures to ensure the safety, security and well-being of Iraqi scientists and academics, within Iraq and internationally;

33. EXTEND their appreciation to Bilkent University and its Founder Prof. Ihsan Dogramaci Hon. FIAS for hosting the 15th IAS Science Conference; to the Islamic Development Bank, COMSTECH, ISESCO, the OPEC Fund for International Development, and the Pakistan Academy of Sciences for generously financing this international meeting.

 

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