Heads of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries' cultural offices in the UK held a coordination meeting late Friday to tackle some academic issues faced in the British Universities and institutions.
The meeting was held at the Kuwaiti embassy in London. It was attended by heads of cultural attaches of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Oman.Head of Kuwait's cultural attache Dr. Mohammad Al-Hamad Al-Hajiri told KUNA that the meeting discussed a number of GCC students related issues such as the issue of learning the English language before being admitted to universities. They also talked about issues related to higher studies of Masters and PhDs degrees.
Al-Hajiri stressed on importance of holding such coordination meetings to unify the academic vision amongst the GCC students and to promote cooperation amongst the GCC cultural offices in the UK.
Some of the difficulties that face GCC students in the UK is the delays in obtaining a student visa to the country.
"The British immigration department tends to give visas to students, staying in the UK, quickly and within a short period of time, however, if this visa expires then the renewal process will take nearly three months," he explained.
He urged GCC students to "go back home and renew their visas at UK embassies in their countries to solve such problems." Al-Hajiri said that the meeting resulted in a number of recommendations to serve the best interests of the students in the UK.
Some of these recommendations are agreeing on choosing the best and most trustworthy English teaching institutes for GCC students. They also agreed to exchange information of the names of these language institutes and the number of GCC students in each one in order to handle any problems or difficulties they might face.
The meeting also tackled what is called the preparatory year, a full year before starting the actual first academic year where students enhance their language skills. They all consented that the best way to prepare for this year is to apply directly to language programs provided by the desired universities of study to avoid any hassles of being rejected by other unaccredited language programs and institutes.
The gathering also said that "pre-Ph'D and pre-Masters programs" are not approved because they have no solid academic requirements.
Universities should abide by UK PhDs programs which they last for three years and where students are expected to submit a thesis within 12 months of the end of the program, the meeting noted.
It also pointed out that the fees of "thesis year" should not be paid fully and GCC cultural offices are not to pay for any expenses for using laboratories.
Al-Hajiri concluded by saying that Kuwait's cultural attache is ready to give any support or exchange expertise with other GCC cultural offices in the UK to serve the best interests of all students.