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Middle Eastern universities placing huge emphasis on teaching and learning excellence

12 Oct 2020 | Advance HE A number of institutions in the region have started or completed teaching and learning development programmes and now have growing numbers of teaching Fellows.

Universities across the Middle East continue to place significant emphasis on pedagogical development and enhancement of teaching and learning quality by collaborating with Advance HE on a range of development programmes, leading to many more academics achieving Fellowship.

Institutions in the region see the value of Advance HE Fellowship in ensuring their teaching staff’s practice meets the standards required, aligned to Professional Standards Framework (PSF).

Teaching development

Sharjah Performing Arts Academy in the UAE is currently co-delivering a version of the Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (CLTHE) with Advance HE to a second cohort of staff. The co-delivery model is a precursor to Sharjah having their own Advance HE accredited programme in the future. Accreditation is given by Advance HE to institutions who can demonstrate alignment to the PSF and gives institutions the ability to award Fellowships to their own staff.

In Bahrain, the Arab Open University (AOU) has recently become a member of Advance HE and staff have just completed the innovative Teaching Skills Masterclass Programme Online (TSMC). The TSMC is a flexible programme aimed at exposing staff to new approaches in teaching and learning in higher education. AOU Bahrain’s programme has been adapted to include a further day of training in order to introduce the participants to Fellowship. AOU currently has nine teaching Fellows including four Senior Fellows but hope this number will grow over time.

Advance HE is also currently delivering a CLTHE programme at Effat University in Saudi Arabia with a view to 30 participants going on to apply for Fellowship. The programme is being delivered online, a new and repurposed offer due to the global pandemic; recent feedback from a similar programme delivered in Thailand demonstrates the value and impact achieved in the online space.

Elsewhere in Saudi Arabia, Taif University completed their most recent cohort of the CLTHE programme in January 2020 and subsequently held a celebration event to recognise the growing number of teaching Fellows at the University. Taif has a longstanding relationship with Advance HE through several iterations of the CLTHE programme and there are now 67 Fellows across all categories at the institution, including one Principal Fellow.

Taif are also planning the delivery of a face-to-face leadership development programme in the future. The Covid-19 crisis has heightened the demand for resilient leaders in higher education and Advance HE’s work in delivering bespoke leadership programmes is highly valued by the international community.

Recognisable impact

Also in Saudi Arabia, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (IAU) completed their first cohort of the CLTHE in February and are considering the pathway to accreditation. Similar to Sharjah, the programme is co-delivered with a view to becoming accredited in the future.

The impact of the programme was highly valued by the participants, with 100% agreeing that the programme raised their awareness of different approaches to teaching and that the programme enhanced their understanding of what makes an effective learning experience. The university now has 60 staff currently applying for Fellowship and Senior Fellowship following the programme.

Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University have also renewed their Advance HE membership this year and 53 of their staff recently signed up to an Advance HE webinar.

fellows outside UK top 10 countries
Figure correct as of July 2020.


The focus on teaching and learning in the Middle East is grounded in the improved student outcomes and engagement that occurs when students are exposed to high quality teaching practices. Research undertaken by Walailak University (WU) in Thailand found that following Advance HE’s work with them on their own CLTHE programme, 93% of their staff were rated four or five stars by their students and student retention had risen by 30%.

The importance placed on learning and teaching in the Middle East is exemplified by the number of teaching Fellows in the region. Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are all in the top ten countries, outside the UK, for numbers of Fellows across all categories and this shows the value given to both high quality teaching and learning and Advance HE membership across the sector.


Click here for more information on the Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, Advance HE’s flagship teacher development programme, modelled on programmes delivered globally including at institutions in the UK, Africa, Asia, Australasia and Europe. 

Fellowship demonstrates a personal and institutional commitment to professionalism in learning and teaching in higher education. Across four categories, from Associate to Principal, Fellowship provides individuals with recognition of their practice, impact and leadership of teaching and learning. Find out more here.

Advance HE's Senior and Principal Fellow Writing Retreats offer the rare opportunity of space and time to think via 1:1 peer coaching, enabling you to engage in critical reflection about your professional practice, influence and strategic leadership in HE.


We feel it is important for voices to be heard to stimulate debate and share good practice. Blogs on our website are the views of the author and don’t necessarily represent those of Advance HE.

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