Northampton academic enhancing HE in Iraq
An academic from the University of Northampton has been praised for his contribution to higher education in his home country of Iraq
Dr Ali Al-Sherbaz, Senior Lecturer in Computing in the Faculty of Art, Science and Technology, first connected with the University of Babylon in 2012, with the successful introduction of a twinning programme in the areas of computing and nursing.
Its success and the fact that it is the first partnership of its kind with an Iraqi university, was the reason Dr Al-Sherbaz was named as one of the top 10 UK influencers in Higher Education in Iraq by the Iraqi Minster of Higher Education, His Excellency Professor Abdul Razzaq Abdul Jaleel Al-Essa.
Dr Ali-Sherbaz said: “This unique partnership enables Iraqi students to study for two years in Babylon, followed by two years in Northampton, with the option of a further MSc year. To date, 85 Babylon students have studied here in Northampton, with the first cohort of 30 having graduated last summer, which was a great honour as the Iraqi Ambassador to the UK was present at the ceremony.
“It was such an honour to be recognised as one of the top influencers in Iraqi Higher Education and to be invited to the Iraqi Embassy building in London along with fellow academics to meet the Iraqi Minster of Higher Education. The Minister already knows me through the strong partnership I have established with the University of Babylon and it was the Iraqi cultural attaché consular, Professor Hasan Alalak, who put my name forward to the Minster.”
Dr Al-Sherbaz is now working on a franchise agreement to commence in September 2017, which will see Iraqi students completing their undergraduate degrees at the University of Northampton before returning home as graduate teaching assistants able to teach the Northampton syllabus.
This set up of this franchise will result in more Iraqi students being able to study and graduate with a University of Northampton degree, but takes away any financial or visa issues they may incur by studying in the UK
He commented: “This set up of this franchise will result in more Iraqi students being able to study and graduate with a University of Northampton degree, but takes away any financial or visa issues they may incur by studying in the UK. The partnership is not only limited to teaching and studying, but will also include research, joint PhD supervision and staff development and has the possibility to expand into other areas of joint working, such as geography, environmental sciences, English and teaching children with special educational needs.”
An English language centre has also been set up at the University of Babylon, which enables the students to take the exam online and is marked by University of Northampton lecturers.
Dr Al-Sherbaz said: “Studying in Northampton is very desirable aim for Iraqi students due to the high quality of UK degrees, which will give them an extra boost in the job market when they return home. These partnerships give the students more of an opportunity to gain their degree from the University of Northampton and it helps them to be able to liaise with tutors and lecturers within their home environment.
“I am glad that senior management at the University of Northampton gave me the opportunity to support my home country through these partnerships. I am looking forward to further strengthening the existing partnership and establishing new ones in the future.”
Dr Ali Al-Sherbaz is currently a Senior Lecturer in Computing within the University of Northampton’s Faculty of Art, Science and Technology. He is also a skilled Research Engineer with a PhD in Wireless Communications and network security, and MSc in Electronic and Communication Engineering.
Dr Al-Sherbaz also has 20 years theoretical and practical experience in researching and teaching at various universities both in the Middle East and in the UK, with good experience in both academic and industrial projects. He has gained membership with the BCS British Computer Society, IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering), IEEE Communication Society, IEEE Standards Associations and Member in the Institution Engineering and Technology IET.