Gallagher, K. and Pounder, J. (2012), "Editorial", Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, Vol. 5 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/ebs.2012.34905baa.001
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, Volume 5, Issue 2
“An enterprise revolution for Egyptian universities” – David Kirby and Nagwa Ibrahim.
“The state of production and operations management (P/OM) teaching in United Arab Emirates universities” – Darwish Abdulrahman Yousef.
“Methods of assessing students learning in higher education: an analysis of Jordanian college and grading system” – Mahmoud F. Alquraan.
“From traditional to Islamic marketing strategies: conceptual issues and implications for an exploratory study in Lebanon” – Laurent Tournois and Isabelle Aoun.
In the first paper in this issue, David Kirby picks up on the revolutionary spirit that has swept across the Middle East this past year, and proposes an “enterprise revolution” for Egyptian universities, a paradigmatic shift to a more experiential approach to learning in business programs which would directly promote innovative entrepreneurial awareness and dispositions, alongside the more traditional skills of problem-solving, time management, and so forth. Applying theories of entrepreneurship education to demonstrate the kinds of organisational and pedagogical changes that are needed throughout universities in Egypt, and not only within business schools, he calls for a revolution in terms of course content and the learning environment, and also in the entire university ethos which he contends needs to become more entrepreneurial, more open to innovation and risk-taking, and less bureaucratic. While acknowledging the challenges, such as the very large class sizes in Egyptian universities that mitigate against such a profound pedagogical reorientation from “knowledge of” to “ability to”, Kirby contends nevertheless that entrepreneurial habits of mind should be part of every student’s higher education experience in Egypt.
Meanwhile Darwish Abdulrahman Yousef assesses the teaching of the discipline of operations and production management in universities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Although the discipline plays a key role in business education, he notes that little is known about how it is taught in developing countries in general, and in the UAE in particular. Just as Kirby reports from Egyptian universities, Yousef too finds that courses in the UAE place little emphasis on preparing students for dealing with real-world problems. Lecturing remains the main pedagogic approach adopted when teaching operations and production management courses, Yousef reports, and he highlights the need to employ alternative approaches such as performance exercises and projects, and to harness multimedia, including videos, games and simulation, in order to bring students closer to the complexity of business realities. He also suggests that the textbooks in common use are not necessarily relevant to the Gulf context, having been written from the perspective of their North American or European authors, while textbooks that are relevant to the Middle East are typically published in Arabic, and therefore unsuited to the higher education environment in the UAE where business is taught through the medium of English.
Turning to higher education in Jordan, Mahmoud Alquraan sets out to discover the types of assessment methods that are used in Jordanian universities, and to find out whether different disciplines adopt different methods of assessment and grading. Hundreds of students from four public universities in Jordan – Yarmouk University, Jordan University, Hashemite University, and Al-Hussein Bin Talal University – were surveyed to find out what assessment methods their teachers employ. Alquraan finds that traditional pencil-and-paper testing remains the most common method of assessing student learning in Jordanian universities, although students in some disciplines report that their teachers do use different methods. Reasons for this include large class size, as in Yousef’s analysis in the previous paper, and limited access to contemporary educational technology.
Laurent Tournois and Isabelle Aoun move beyond the confines of the educational process to engage in a critical review of existing literature on Islamic marketing and branding. Related market oriented strategies (from a cultural perspective) are discussed regarding their possible implementation by non-Muslim firms. This exploratory research on integrating Islamic cultural values in the market oriented and product policy strategies of Western firms are introduced in the context of Lebanon. Tournois and Aoun conclude that the theoretical foundations and the results of existing research are impeding the understanding and implementation by Western firms and marketers of Islamic marketing principles.
We hope you enjoy this issue of education, business and society: contemporary Middle Eastern issues.
Kay Gallagher, James Pounder