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Tue 23 Aug 2011 02:11 PM

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Saudi's King Saud named top Arab university

Five Middle East universities named in league table of world's top 500 institutes

Saudi's King Saud named top Arab university
Girls walk past Istanbul University in Turkey

Five Middle East universities have secured a spot in a league table of the world’s top 500 educational institutions, with Saudi’s King Saud University leading the field.

The Riyadh-based institution edged into the top 300 of the rankings, which are compiled annually by China’s Shanghai Jiao Tong University, for the first time in the list’s history.

Also moving up the rankings was Istanbul University in Turkey, which ranked in the top 400, and the University of Teheran in Iran.

Saudi’s King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals also made its debut in the top 400.

A new name to reappear on the list from the Arab world was Cairo University in Egypt, which returned to the top 500 “after five years of staggering outside,” researchers said.

“The progress of universities in Middle East countries is remarkable,” the report said.

American institutions dominated the annual rankings, taking 17 of the top 20 spots and comprising more than half of the top 100. Harvard University topped the list for the ninth year running, followed by Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

British universities also made a strong showing with Cambridge ranked the world’s fifth best university, and Oxford taking the no.10 spot.

A report from Deloitte last week found American universities may look to establish low-cost campuses and development programmes in emerging regions such as the Middle East, in a bid to bridge a growing funding gap.

Saudi Arabia last year said it would allocate $533m to overhaul facilities at the kingdom’s universities, in addition to signing deals with foreign education providers to open up opportunities for national students to study abroad.

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