The President of Princess Sumaya University for Technology, Prof. Mashhoor Al-Refai, opened the final conference of the European Union Rice Project under the title of "Modernization of Human Resource Management in Higher Education in the Southern Mediterranean", which was held at the University of Cadi Ayyad in the Kingdom of Morocco. The two-day conference will discuss the reform of higher education in the southern Mediterranean through the modernization of personnel management, which will be addressed by the human resources departments of the participating universities.
After welcoming the participants, Prof. Al-Refai affirmed the importance of the Rice project to Arab universities. He also pointed out the role of PSUT in overseeing the management of the project, especially since regional changes have brought about many challenges to the higher education sector, prompting the urgent need to develop a system that responds quickly and effectively to these challenges. The conference aims to meet this need by continuing to work to modernize and renew human resources management practices and find solutions that keep pace with developments and changes to support the academic system and its success.
Prof. Al-Refai reviewed PSUT's excellent track record, which has been built under the guidance of HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, Chair of PSUT’s Board of Trustees. Following the directives of Her Royal Highness led to the University being awarded the Order of Independence, First Class by His Majesty King Abdullah II in recognition of the great progress made in the ICT sector since its establishment in 1991. For the last three years, PSUT has occupied first place among the Jordanian universities in the general level of the University Proficiency Exam, held by the HEAC. This year, the University took first place in 82% of its specializations at the subject level. The University has also forged numerous agreements with many Arab and international universities which highlights its focus on the international dimension. This focus is also proven by the fact that PSUT has obtained accreditation from the American Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET) for three of its Engineering programs and the Computer Science program. In addition, the School of Business Technology is the first at any Jordanian university to become a member of the AACSB. Furthermore, many students have received prizes in local, regional and international competitions, particularly programming competitions. During the past week, PSUT students have filled the top three positions in the Jordanian Collegiate Programming Competition (JCPC) 2018 to qualify for the regional competition to be held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. PSUT students also won first place and the title of Champion of the Middle East and Africa in ACM’s International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) 2018, which was held in China. The University won first place in the Arab world and eighth place globally in the IEEEXtreme competition. Under the Crown Prince Hussein Bin Abdullah II Initiative, four PSUT students were among 12 Jordanian students to be selected to undergo training at the US space agency NASA. As part of the same initiative, two PSUT students were selected to train at Airbus.
Prof. Al-Refai also talked about joint programs run in collaboration with prestigious international universities. The most important agreements are those held with Hasselt University of Belgium, and the American universities of Indiana, Oakland – Michigan, and Arizona, which has a satellite campus at the University. PSUT also plays a management role in six of 36 projects run by the European Union.
Prof. Walid Salameh, Project Manager, emphasized the depth of the relationship between PSUT, the North African Arab countries, and other Arab and European countries. He highlighed the importance of this conference, which met the objectives of the project, which focused on: building capacity and skills in human resource management in targeted higher education institutions in the southern Mediterranean to increase organizational efficiency; establishing a regional network on human resource management as a forum for the exchange of best practices; institutional HR strategies in higher education institutions in the Southern Mediterranean.
Prof. Salameh also reviewed the stages of completion of the project from the beginning of the first meeting in February 2016 to this present final conference.
Dr. Nabil Hamina, President of Sultan Moulay Slimane University, Beni Mellal, Morocco, spoke about the importance and the increasing dimensions of the role of human resource management in the modern era as a result of rapid regional change effecting all institutions and organizations and their ability to cope with the huge technological advancements currently being witnessed by the world. There is a demand for new skills or a re-configuration to refine skills, promote some individuals and develop programs to encourage and support the acceptance and cooperation of individuals expected to use modern technology.
Dr. Hamina pointed out that the main objective of the Rice project is to contribute to the development of a plan to improve the performance of higher education institutions in the South Mediterranean countries and to update the methods of human resource management, digitization and rapid implementation through a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of human practices and needs. He also expressed the desire for entering into future joint cooperation projects with PSUT.
The conference was attended by representatives of Princess Sumaya University for Technology, Tafila University, Mu'tah University, Jordan's Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Cadi Ayyad University and Sidi Sulaiman University, Sultan Moulay Slimane University at Beni Mellal in the Kingdom of Morocco, the University of Continuing Education and Laghouat University from the Republic of Algeria, the University of Gabès and the University of Monastir, from the Republic of Tunisia. The European partners are: Rouen University of France, Magdeburg University of Germany, the University of Administrative Sciences of Estonia, the Agricultural University of Slovakia and the Agora Foundation of Spain. The participating representatives at the conference presented working papers for discussion in the interests of the conference and its objectives