An Open Letter to Presidents of Learned Societies, University Leaders and Academics

On Oct. 28, 2020, The Iraqi National Parliament passed the “Foundations of University Degree Equivalency Act”, which represents a substantial rewriting and expansion of the previous instructions for degree equivalence of Arab and Foreign Certificates and Degrees No. 5 of 1976. The Act has provoked crises within the higher education institutions in Iraq by allowing the recognition of foreign higher degrees in ways far from meeting the high standards of previously used to establish Iraqi educational equivalency of university-level degrees. It has made conditions for granting academic titles to members of Parliament, ministers and high-ranking government officials, thus in effect creating a two-tier system for dealing with degree equivalency. It has also allowed several governmental bodies to award academic titles to their employees without giving due importance to the academic qualifications. The Act has also abolished the research thesis as a requirement for the PhD degree and drastically reduced the period of residency at the host country with respect to meeting the requirement for obtaining a degree. Moreover, the Act has ignored the evaluation process which reflects how international qualifications compare to national qualification standards through consideration of the qualification components.
Violating existing regulations and laws and interfering with the academic processes have led to the erosion of academic standards and threaten basic academic freedoms, democratic governance and participation, and, last but not least, the independence of the universities.
We are writing this appeal for solidarity in utmost shock and despair regarding this attack on our higher education system. The Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the university councils and the majority of professors have vehemently opposed this Act but to no avail.
We appeal to you as academics, researchers and concerned individuals to strongly condemn the attack by the Iraqi parliament on higher education and to express support for Iraqi academics endeavouring to protect higher education form further damage to the integrity and values of the education system. We ask you to stand in solidarity with our attempts to defend the independence of the education system that should be free of any interference from political parties in scientific activities and academic decisions.

Professor Mohamed Al-Rubeai, PhD, FRSB
Chairman, Network of Iraqi Scientists Abroad (NISA)

NISA members participate in the Higher Education and Development in Iraq conference organised by the Iraqi Embassy in London, 14-15 September 2018

مشاركة شبكة العلماء العراقيين في الخارج (نيسا) في مؤتمر التعليم العالي والتنمية الذي اقامته السفارة العراقية في لندن بالتعاون مع الملحقية الثقافية ووزارة التعليم العالي والبحث العلمي والمنعقد في لندن في الفترة بين 14 الى 15 ايلول والذي ساهمت الشبكة في بلورة محاوره. شارك عدد من اعضاء نيسا سواء بالحضور او بالقاء المحاضرات التي تميزت بالتركيز على مظاهر الثورة الشاملة في نظم التعليم التي يشهدها عصرنا الحالي وعلى العوامل التي تدفع بنظامنا التربوي والاكاديمي نحو الافضل. نرفق صورا متنوعة لزملائنا العلماء المشاركين في المؤتمر وبعض الحضور.

Chairman of NISA presents awards for outstanding Iraqi Research at the Science Day Festival (6 September 2018)

في احتفالية يوم العلم التي اقيمت على قاعة جامعة بغداد يوم 6 ايلول 2018 تم توزيع جوائز شبكة العلماء العراقيين في الخارج (نيسا) لافضل بحث علمي صدر في عام 2017. الجائزة في عامها الثالث وتمنح لاحسن البحوث المتقدمة لنيل ستة جوائز في العلوم الطبية والهندسية والزراعية والصرفة والانسانية والتعاون العالمي. الجوائز عبارة عن شهادة تقديرية ومكافأة 1000 دولار لكل بحث فائز.
تهانينا للفائزين ونأمل قريبا اصدار الاعلان عن موعد التقديم لجوائز عام 2018.