Introduction

Introduction

Neeta Baporikar (Ministry of Higher Education, Oman)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6198-1.ch001
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Abstract

Education is a significant sector, and higher education plays a great role in this knowledge era. Education is not only important and dynamic but also ever changing as per the needs of society. Education has a wider meaning nation wise and even culturally contextualized. This chapter gives a historical background of education and then critically delves into the origin of higher education, the current scenario, and the impending outlook, with focus on the MENA region. The education sector returns are immeasurable, but the sector is also demanding and challenging, especially for the MENA region. Education systems will need to become more effective in transmitting skills and competencies to all. MENA countries in particular will have to consider not only how education will be delivered but also how it will be paid for. Meeting the above challenges is fundamental. The succeeding chapters will facilitate policy makers to meet those challenges.
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Origin Of Higher Education: From Where We Came

Universities, as we know them today, have been in existence for over one millennium. The history of education according to Dieter Lenzen, president of the FreieUniversitat Berlin 1994, “began either millions of years ago or at the end of 1770”. Education as a science cannot be separated from the educational traditions that existed before. Adults trained the young of their society in the knowledge and skills they would need to master and eventually pass on. The evolution of culture, and human beings as a species depended on this practice of transmitting knowledge. In pre-literate societies this was achieved orally and through imitation. Story-telling continued from one generation to the next. Oral language developed into written symbols and letters. The depth and breadth of knowledge that could be preserved and passed soon increased exponentially. When cultures began to extend their knowledge beyond the basic skills of communicating, trading, gathering food, religious practices, etc., formal education, and schooling, eventually followed.

Key Terms in this Chapter

MENA Region: Geographical area covering the region of Middle East and North Africa.

Knowledge: Acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; general erudition.

Policies: A course of action adopted and pursued by a government, ruler, political party

Sector: A part or subdivision, especially of a society or an economy.

Challenges: A demand to explain, justify, difficulty in a job or undertaking that is stimulating to one engaged in it.

Education: The act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.

Globalization: Worldwide integration and development.

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