The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is working toward its goal of an Educational Exchange Program that spans the Muslim world, according to a spokesman.
The OIC has announced the start of the programme that will ultimately facilitate scholarships, faculty exchanges, collaboration on distance learning methods and research projects among its 57 member countries spread over four continents.
The OIC is the second largest inter-governmental organisation after the United Nations, and upon full realization, the exchange program promises to be the largest inthe world.
"It all started with the recommendation that we should have a counterpart to Erasmus," Mohammad Kamran Akhtar, director at the O.I.C.'s Department of Science and Technology, said by telephone, referring to the exchange program of the European Union.
The OIC announced 10 new scholarship positions at the University of Kuala Lumpur last month, and 25 fully subsidized training spots in Malaysia this month.
There are also about 50 subsidized post-graduate spots at the Comsats Institute of Information Technology in Pakistan and pledged spots in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan that have not been finalized, according Mr. Akhtar.
Turkey is also poised to offer scholarships.
Even with these advances, the O.I.C.'s Educational Exchange Program is still in the early stage. It is to be fully operational by 2015, where it should span the OIC member states.
"We are not just focused on scholarships but also exchange of researchers and faculty," Mr. Akhtar said.
The organization is also looking to provide academic exchange links with non-OIC countries.
"We hope that the Program can be helpful in going beyond purely inter-governmental efforts to promote dialogue among civilizations," Mr. Akhtar said.
Christopher F. Schuetze, "Schools in Muslim Countries Work on Exchanges" The New York Times July 22, 2012
"Islamic Nations Join Forces, Strengthen Education Opportunities" ICEF Monitor 17 July 2012
Reproduced with permission from Islam Today