BZU Top Palestinian University
The BZU President Dr. Khalil Hindi announced that BZU is the top Palestinian university according to International University Education Quality Standards. This came at a press conference held on 25 Sept. 2012, attended by a number of news agencies, writers and journalists. Hindi added: “By adopting teaching and learning quality indicators, in terms of student-teacher ratio, faculty members with PhDs to students ratio, the percentage of library holdings (soft and hard copies) to the number of students, as well as the percentage of scientific publications in international refereed journals to the number of teaching staff, BZU is the best Palestinian university, in terms of academic excellence.”
Regarding BZU’s academic update, Hindi said: “We have completed the requirements for offering the MA program in Arabic language and literature, as the Arabic Language and Literature Department at BZU has decided to offer the MA program in Arabic language and literature, starting the first semester of the academic year 2012-2013. Also, the Pharm D program was accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education, which includes a six-year study period in basic sciences and pharmaceuticals, in addition to clinical training in hospitals.”
BZU has recently launched the Cooperative Education Program (CO-OP), first of its kind in Palestine, which is a structured method of integrating academic education with experience in which the participating students study and work in jobs related to their academic plans, Hindi said.
Moreover, Hindi called for setting-up a lending institution to provide students with loans, stressing the need for a pay-back mechanism after their graduation, so as to ensure its sustainability.
As to the challenges facing BZU, Hindi explained that BZU’s fiscal deficit is the greatest challenge, whereas the financial resources available are dwindling, while higher education costs are rising. However, tuition fees cover barely 50% of the total costs, thus the difference must be covered to enable the university to effectively fulfill its mission.
Hindi explained that there are problems related to scientific research, which needs more attention by cutting down the teaching load.
Moreover, Hindi affirmed that the resources spent on universities should be allocated to one or two universities, to significantly raise their competitive edge on the Arab level, then move on to compete with international universities.
Hindi called for setting up a fund for academics who stick to their universities, fearing the loss of their pension, noting that this fund will secure academics’ rights when they move to teach from one university to another.
Concerning the role of the Higher Education Council, Hindi said that its role is marginal, as members meet only to discuss cost of living issues, stressing the need to undertake great efforts that contribute to solving vital educational issues, and attract new members from local community institutions and representatives of various universities.