World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


UN Arab development closing the ‘knowledge gap’

UN Arab development report focuses on closing growing ‘knowledge gap’

Arabs, coming from a knowledge-rich past, must urgently close a “growing knowledge gap” in the present by investing heavily in high-quality, analytical education, promoting open intellectual enquiry and developing an authentic Arab knowledge model, a new United Nations report says.

The report is the second Arab Human Development Report (AHDR 2003), launched in Amman today, at the invitation of the Jordanian Government.

It has been prepared by 40 distinguished Arab scholars, along with 30 advisers and peer reviewers, and co-sponsored by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.

The report proposes building a new knowledge society on “five pillars.”

“A climate of freedom is an essential prerequisite of the knowledge society,” it says. “It is also imperative to end the era of administrative control and the grip of security agencies over the production and dissemination of knowledge and the various forms of creative activity that are foundations for the knowledge society in Arab countries.”

Basic education should become universal and last 10 years in an educational system that should be radically improved, the report says of the second pillar. An independent Arab organization should be established for the accreditation of all higher education programmes.

Appropriate institutions, with appropriate funding, are needed to encourage basic research that will meet regional demand, especially in science and technology, which is the third pillar. “A starting point for this is to overcome the illusion that importing technology, as embodied in products, machinery and services, is equivalent to acquiring knowledge.”

The report recommends “shifting rapidly towards knowledge-based and value-added production,” thereby diversifying economic structures and markets, as the fourth pillar.

Creating the Arab knowledge model, the fifth pillar, will involve “delivering pure religion from political exploitation and respecting independent scholarship,” undertaking serious linguistic research into and reform of the Arabic language and “promoting cultural diversity in the region and opening up to other cultures abroad.”

The report estimates that there were 371 research scientists and engineers per million citizens in Arab countries, compared to a global rate of 979 per million. Only 1.6 per cent of the Arab population has Internet access, compared to 68 per cent in Britain and 79 per cent in the United States, it says.

It also notes rising anxieties about cultural dissolution in an emerging global culture, but says, “The Arab-Islamic culture at its zenith was a role model for borrowing and assimilation, followed by generous giving when it established its distinguished knowledge edifice.”

Recent advances, such as more women elected to political office and the expansion of satellite news broadcasting, have been partly eclipsed by tightened security in several countries following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.

“These measures and policies exceeded their original goals and led to the erosion of civil and political liberties in many countries in the world, notably the United States, often diminishing the welfare of Arabs and Muslims living, studying, or travelling abroad, interrupting cultural exchanges between the Arab world and the West and cutting off knowledge acquisition opportunities for young Arabs,” the report says.

“The intensity of Arab opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq and to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza have heightened political tensions within Arab states and have become in themselves obstacles to open interchange with the United States and its allies,” it adds.

The Arab Charter against Terrorism was another negative. “It allows censorship, restricts access to the Internet and restricts printing and publication” and does not prohibit detention and torture, the report says.

In accompanying opinion polls, interviewees in the Arab world are the strongest supporters of democracy and the most determined opponents of authoritarian governments in the world. Their answers are compared with polls taken in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, other Islamic countries, Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, North America – together with Australia and New Zealand, South Asia and East Asia.

The polls also show support for overall male-female equality in education, but not in the workplace.

“In human development terms, Arabs expressed support for building the human capabilities of women, but not for their utilization,” the authors say.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Death Of Fidel Castro

New Zealand likes to think we played our part – via the 1981 Springbok tour – in bringing the apartheid regime in South Africa to an end… Jacob Zuma treated the death of Fidel Castro at the weekend as an occasion to pay a heartfelt tribute to the thousands of Cuban soldiers who travelled across the world to inflict the first significant military defeat on the forces of white supremacy. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The US Election Home Stretch

Once again at the business end of a US election, the result will hinge on the same old bits of geography as always: the Five Crucial Counties in Ohio, the Two Crucial Counties in Pennsylvania and the I-4 Interstate Corridor in Florida that runs from Tampa Bay through Orlando to Daytona Beach. More>>

ALSO:

Meanwhile:

Haiti: $5 Million To Kick-Start Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Matthew

UN emergency fund allocates $5 million to kick-start assistance in wake of Hurricane Matthew More>>

ALSO:

Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>

ALSO:

Not Helen Clark: António Guterres Favourite For Next UN Secretary-General

Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has emerged as the clear favourite to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council, which is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news