US News editors unveiled here Thursday a test version of a directory of more than 800 universities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) before a group of top regional academic officials at the fifth World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE).
The Arab Region University Directory, created by US-based provider of information analysis US News and World Report, will launch on usnews.com in November.
It brings together publicly available data on a wide array of MENA universities from all Arab countries. A fully web-enabled, searchable product will debut in early 2014.
The data set is the beginning of a long-term project to develop a series of surveys and rankings for the MENA region, which will allow a much deeper regional comparison of the various types of institutions than information which currently appears in other global rankings.
Until now, these rankings have typically included few MENA higher educational institutions. Additionally MENA schools have not historically been classified for comparative purposes in the same way as universities in many other regions.
Editor and Chief Content Officer of US News Brian Kelly said, "We want to bring to the Arab and MENA university community the same depth of study that has become so important to parents, students and policymakers in the US."
The effort is part of an expanding global outreach by the Washington-based media company, which for many years has been the leading source of rankings in the areas of education, healthcare, and other products, and has found a growing international interest in its content.
The University Directory will assist people in the MENA region by creating a greater depth of understanding about the many universities located across the region. Through rigorous and objective research, the U.S. News researchers will create standardized and transparent information that can be used to improve education throughout the region.
The project is led by Robert Morse, who has managed U.S. News educational research for more than two decades.