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By Emma McGhin

Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-2016

On Top of the World

Today, Times Higher Education published its World University Rankings 2015-16 and the results prove that European and Asian universities are on the rise.

For the fifth year in a row, California Institute of Technology is in first place, followed by Oxford, Stanford, Cambridge, and MIT. The first Ivy League entrant is Harvard at sixth. Princeton, Imperial College London, ETH Zurich, and the University of Chicago complete the Top Ten.

US universities showcased the biggest decline, with 63 in the top 100, down from 74 last year and 77 the year before. Also of note is that no US institution includes more than 35% international students, unlike universities in Asia, Oceania, and Europe.

Other nations are upping their game. These include the UK, with 34 universities in the top 200, Germany, with 20, and the Netherlands with 12. Australia has eight institutions in the top 200. Switzerland’s ETH Zurich is the first country outside the US and UK to make the top 10 for a decade.

The THE rankings judge research-intensive institutions on teaching, research, knowledge transfer, and international outlook. All institutions must teach undergraduates and regularly publish.

This year, THE released a list of the most innovative institutions, which includes a wonderfully global list of universities, from Germany to China to Singapore to Brazil. THE has also broken down institutions by subject, including Arts & Humanities; Clinical, Pre-Clinical, & Health; Engineering & Technology; Life Sciences; Physical Sciences; and Social Sciences.

By Amin S

Everything on Becoming an Air Traffic Controller

What is Air Traffic Control?
Air traffic control is a crucial part of the aviation industry. Air traffic control primarily directs multiple aircraft at once in order to keep them safe and efficiently away from all other nearby aircraft. For the whole period a plane is in the air, air traffic control maintains full contact so as provide constant instructions navigating the plane through a route that would be clear of all other aircraft.

How can I become an Air Traffic Controller?
In order for your eligibility for the training program you’d need (according to the FAA which is the Federal Aviation Authority in the USA) to have at least a Bachelor’s degree, or a combination of post-secondary education as well as work experience for three years or above. Another condition is that you must be hired before your 31st birthday so it is recommended that the program is started at 27 years at the latest. This isn’t a cut-throat age range however, if you do apply after this age you reduce the chances of being hired. If you meet all these conditions you could enrol in an ATC course and become qualified and ready to practise.


What skills should I have in order to succeed in the profession?
Air traffic controllers require good organization skills, and highly advanced numeric computations and mathematical abilities. The job is decision-making intensive, and one must have the skills to be assertive in the choices that are made. Communication is another fundamental quality that is looked for in a proficient Air Traffic Controller, clear and succinct communicative abilities are a must.

What are the work hours like?
Controllers work “on position” for a period of 90 to 120 minutes followed by a 30 minute break (for busy airports). Given the large number of planes in the air at any one time throughout the year, controllers rotate readily and their schedules and shifts are set at least a month in advance.

When can I start working and what is the pay like?
After enrolling in the course and successfully completing it, you could be working within approximately 2 years since the completion of your studies. This time frame is general and it does vary from student to student depending on many factors such as demand and market conditions.  In terms of salary, wages do vary but one could expect approximately $37,000 or more in the first year. The rise from base pay is relatively high and one could expect to reach $55,000 fairly quickly. Depending on how quickly you learn and how effectively you operate, you could expect to reach the median income of $108,000. The limiting factor to the salary category is how many areas of control you are proficient in as well as years of experience you possess. You could receive a base pay as high as $174,000 and during holidays, the pay is significantly higher.

Prime Education has a list of various Aviation Courses available for students across the world.

By Kristin Pedroja

TES World Reputation Rankings

The global reputation of an institution can be a powerful tool for graduates. The Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings invites 10,000 senior academics from around the world to rate institutions. Though completely subjective, their opinions give interesting insight into the excellence of research and teaching in various fields. The list was published on March 11 and includes institutions from every corner of the globe.

Of the top 100, 43 are from the US, with the UK coming in next with 12. Six are in Germany, and Australia, France, and the Netherlands each have five. Harvard takes the top spot this year, with Oxford and Cambridge in second and third. Other UK institutions in the top 50 include Imperial College London, University College London, London School of Economics, University of Edinburgh, Kings College London, and the University of Manchester.

These rankings are important to consider as you begin to search for your ideal institution. World rankings tables are a great place to start, as you can find the institutions in your field that are most respected internationally and begin to narrow your search. Finding the course and university to suit your needs can be daunting, and Prime Education can help you find the courses which best suit your academic and personal goals.

Navigating the admissions process is the second step, and Prime Education has successfully helped hundreds of students achieve their admissions goals. We are with you through each step, from finding the right people to write recommendations to advising on the personal essay.

The final hurdle for many is the visa process, which can be the most difficult part of studying abroad. Prime Education has been helping students with this for years, and are experts in checking all the details to ensure visa success.

No matter where you decide to learn, Prime Education is by your side. As a student consultancy, we are available to help as you adjust to your new life, advising on anything from choosing accommodation to where to open a bank account to the best place to drive for a long weekend. Our team understands the demands of academia and will take care of all the essentials so all you have to do is learn, no matter where you decide to study.

By Emma McGhin

Study for a UK degree in Malta

Imagine studying on a small island set in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea blessed with 300 days of sunshine, a unique millennial history with many world heritage sites, and plenty of sporting and social activities.

This is Malta, home to Middlesex University’s third international campus and a truly unique student experience.

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Middlesex University Malta is their newest campus and offers a fantastic opportunity for Libyan Students to take advantage of studying for a UK degree. As well as gaining a world class degree, studying in Malta brings many other added benefits for Libyan students:

  • World class teaching and research at a British Higher Education institution
  • Lower tuition fees than equivalent courses in the UK
  • Simpler visa application & process
  • Lower cost of living in Malta than UK
  • Malta is one of the best performing European economies, offering plenty of placement and graduate employment opportunities
  • And a Mediterranean climate!

Entry Requirements

Middlesex University Malta welcomes international students with a range of qualifications from around the world. Applicants with BTEC HNDs, Advanced Progression Diplomas at an equivalent level and Access to HE programmes with a pass grade may gain direct entry to the 2nd or 3rd year of the undergraduate programmes available; other qualifications are considered on an individual basis.

Students with a recognised Bachelor’s degree at the required level are welcome to apply for one of their Master’s programmes. Individuals with at least 5 years’ relevant professional experience will also be considered.

English Requirements

The most common English Language requirements for undergraduate courses are IELTS 6.0 (with a minimum of 5.5 in all four components) or the equivalent. For postgraduate courses, the English language requirements are IELTS 6.5 (with minimum grade 6.0 in all four components), or the equivalent.

If you are unsure about whether you meet the minimum requirements, please complete the enquiry form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Course Fees

The annual tuition fees to study at Middlesex University Malta are as follows:

Undergraduate programmes – Year 2 – €5,000
Undergraduate programmes – Year 3 – €8,000
Postgraduate programmes – €9,000

Next Steps

Feel free to contact us any time to discuss opportunities for studying at Middlesex University Malta. Prime Education can advise and assist you with your application – offering a fully comprehensive service, we are available to help every step of the way, including submitting your application and organising your visa.

Register your details

Fill in this form and you will immediately receive the Middlesex University Malta 2014-2015 prospectus, and one of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Middlesex University Malta offers the following courses

School of Science & Technology

BSc Honours Information Technology

  • 2nd & 3rd year entry

BSc Honours Computer Networks

  • 2nd & 3rd year entry

BSc Honours Computer Science (Systems Engineering)

  • 2nd & 3rd year entry

BSc Honours Business Information Systems

  • 3rd year entry

MSc Network Security and Pen Testing

MSc Business Information Systems Management

Business School

BA Honours International Business Administration

  • 3rd year entry

By Kristin Pedroja

Russian Global Scholarship Fund Opens Doors

Russian students worldwide are taking advantage of the Global Education Program, which gives Russian students access to over 4.4 billion rubles to put towards their education.

This Russian scholarship programme is aimed at students who already have a bachelor or specialist degree and want to study for an advanced degree. It is open to international students who are already enroled in one of 227 approved universities in 27 countries and is available through 2016.

The postgraduate Global Education Program is an exciting prospect both for currently enroled Russian Masters and PhD students and those finishing up an undergraduate degree and searching for their next step. Areas of study include engineering, science, education, social management, and medicine.

Students receive 1.38m rubles (£14,380) per year towards their education, and in return they are asked to return to Russia and work with one of 550 approved Russian-based employers for three years. These include leading scientific organisations, industrial corporations, medical and pharmacological institutions and universities. The approved list of employers is updated and expanded regularly.

Prime Education Ltd is working with this Russian scholarship program to help expedite the application process for students. Applying is tricky, as students must meet strict criteria that include a lengthy application and numerous other elements. Prime Education ensures students are submitting complete and competitive applications.

In the UK, 29 universities are approved for this scholarship program, including Southampton, Queen Mary’s, Leeds, University of York, Durham University and Kings College London. Nearly a third of applications submitted by January 2015 were for UK institutions, with 77% at Masters level and 23% studying for their PhD. A diverse range of UK-based programmes are represented, from cyber security to bioinformatics, international migration to neuroscience, nano-electronics to petroleum engineering.

Prime Education has many years of experience in the global education market, especially with UK institutions. The consultancy offers English language course placement, finds training programmes for a variety of international organisations, and helps international students find the perfect higher education programme for their needs. Prime Education’s partnership with the Russian Global Education Program is an ideal fit for a company that knows and understands the international education sphere and how students present their best selves in their applications.

For more information on the Russian Global Education Program visit their website

By Sera Sekerci

Literacy: The Fatal Flaw At The Heart of Saudi Academia

There seems to be a great deal of confusion among Saudis as to the best way to obtain analytic and critical thinking skills. Many Saudis are ‘big’ on leadership because, not being familiar with the nuts and bolts of academic disciplines not directly connected to wealth or the making thereof, they figure they can get some Syrian or Egyptian to teach them (or do) the rudiments of the rest when the need arises. Lately though, it has become painfully obvious that only being able to understand the gist of a document and the ability to read bullet points doesn’t give the degree -bearing Saudi  the academic know-how to write and publish research needed to pull Saudi universities up in the world rankings.

The Saudi quest to make English the ‘other’ national language has hit a snag. Not being a culture that has a strong literary tradition, many Saudis have failed to realize how much reading and writing develop critical and analytical thinking skills. Some educators in the kingdom are beginning to realize that doing the range of courses at Berlitz , ELS, Wall Street—and the other forms of English Language ‘training’ management at these and similar institutes  are no substitute for reading Hawthorne, Lao Tzu, Thoreau, Feud or pondering the  legacy of cause and effect illustrated through the global history of the western world, the happenstance they are so eager to join.

Preparatory year programs at the university level,  dissatisfied with the English learning management the institute systems have been peddling as avenues of academic achievement, are looking elsewhere for a quick fix, still unwilling to consider their approach to learning as a training (as opposed to a conditioning) maybe wrong. The current craze known as ‘self learning’, erroneously thought to be this expedited solution, bears partial affirmation that there has been a lack of methodology in teaching and learning in the wake of what has become a tradition of  rote learning without understanding.

A good example of this is the current focus on training students in the techniques of Academic Writing without the literacy. Reading to understand the flow of the language or the creative inspiration behind it is a necessary ingredient in fostering critical thinking. Without it, the components of creativity which have propelled the US and other western countries to the height of discovery and invention will always elude the Saudi brain trust. Learning to write in English—particular academic and expository writing, needs learners to not only understand the dynamics of spelling and grammar, but to develop a ‘feel’ for words as they are used in a variety of contexts. Unless the person wanting to learn is a professional ‘talker’ (which I suppose means salesman) in an English speaking environment, reading is essential not only in how to use English but how to truly meta-cognate (fluency without thought) the language to produce creative and meaningful communication.

Why just learning the mechanics of writing doesn’t work

Many in the Saudi Education establishment believe the keys to intellectual progress come by way of Academic Writing. Often confused with Business Writing, Academic Writing is a scholarly discourse between people who know enough about an issue or subject to engage in an informed discussion or/and debate using sources that are or can be acknowledged by the general scholarly community as ‘credible’ (usually meaning based on established research and sources thereof).

These respected sources usually require the advent of lots of reading in a discipline (why Ph.D. candidates spend so much time doing it). There is an assumption that the reader has knowledge of the specific terminology commonly used in expert reading, writing and speaking of the subject as well as its historical contexts.

Grammar is extremely important in Academic Writing.  In most cases, it must be formal and contain no contractions, figures of speech (except for the Latin variety) or slang because terms and ideas must maintain their agreed meaning to debate in an attempt to prove or disprove their validity usually in the wake of new discoveries or/and ways of thinking in the field.  Since terms in these discussions are precisely defined, omission of a comma may confuse or make incomprehensible a point being made.

Academic papers have a formal; static structure and form and are delineated through traditional titled sections from beginning to end. Format with regard to font, line spacing and margins in this type of writing also have rigid specifications and requirements. The overriding purpose of the academic form is to give the reading the impression that the conclusions and opinions are derived as an objective consequence of the facts discussed.

Examples of this type of writing are research papers; scientific reports and quantitative analyses. The reputation of the writer is based on the honesty of his scholarship and research reported.  Staying abreast with current knowledge and discoveries requires—that’s right, reading. Academic integrity, traditionally not prized over the covert ‘help’ Saudis gives their fellow students, may also get in the way of any scholarship he may produce.

Conversely, the purpose of expository writing is to communicate, entertain and inform. The writer often assumes the reader knows nothing outside what is commonly known about the subject. The credibility of information is secondary to communication. The purpose of the author in writing the piece is to define and explain the subject in a way an ordinary person can understand. Words, phrases and grammar are often informal. The writer doesn’t approach things scientifically, but with an opinion.

Expository script is used as a medium of elucidation and has a variety informal language styles and approaches that can be conveyed through almost any ‘voice’ (for example, a jovial or judgmental tone) or arrangement of facts and/or opinion  with a  strong organizational context that attempts to teach the reader about the subject written without being directly didactic. Slang and figures of speech are encouraged to short cut the content in British English (although in American instruction of writing, it is discouraged). The writer’s reputation as a source of knowledge isn’t on the line with each statement necessarily and his credibly remains intact even if his position is flawed or riddled with half-truths (in the court of public opinion, lack of evidence is considered ‘controversial’) even in journalistic circles.

Magazine, business correspondence of various ilk, newspapers; advertisement copy and their myriad of styles are examples of this genre of writing. Such is the stuff that articles at Mideastposts are made of.

Contrary to the assumption made in academic writing that the reader is an expert or has an expert like understanding in the subject written about, expository writing assumes the reader knows nothing other than what is commonly understood about the subject of the writing. Unlike its academic version, expository grammar and language can be expressed as contemporary manifestations of tone and jargon which literally can be define through their consistency of use within a particular piece of writing.  Expository writing is meant to express ideas and communicate them to the average reader; whether factual or opinion —and may heavily rely on the devices of rhetoric to sway or convince.

The writer merely must have an opinion that is being expressed. Verifiable proofs to its veracity are inconsequential to informing or express the thought. Reading, the other end of the conduit of written communication and information exchange, is still often necessary to comprehend the importance of thoughts being expressed.  Unfortunately, just being functional in scribbling a legible opinion in this regard won’t bring home any Pulitzers, land a lucrative business deal or inspire a young Saudi to be romantically courageous over some abstract noun.

Since Expository Writing is the most common vehicle of the printed word in English speaking societies, it is usually taught first as a means of teaching the logistics of written communication because it is the most familiar form of writing encounter in daily life. The basic paragraph and essay structures parallel that of Academic Writing (cause and effect; comparison/contrast for instance). Though it has a comparative structure, Academic Writing is taught as in separate course in western schools, focusing on formal grammar, syntax, format and structure.

Must people who ‘talk’ Saudi Education consider academic writing the key to analytic and critical thinking skills but, in truth, it is important to remember that most writers learn persuasive and argumentative writing through the medium of expository expression. The best writers can use the skills required in both to ignite the imagination of their readers and educate the public in what is important while giving them a better understanding of the world around them. In English, the only way to get there is to read what others have done and acquire the mellifluous jargon of prosaic thought and articulation. Reading the writing of others and seeing how it is done is like learning to speak through listening. The brain has to see the pattern in it; understand the interplay of words others use as an indispensible part of the process of  learning correct usage.

Of course, the Saudi government may feel that having too many opinionated eggheads around could be bad for the ‘King’ business. Despite what the western media tell us, people seldom rebel because they think one form of government is better than the other unless their misery out weighs the pain of getting off their duff to do something about it.  At this juncture in Saudi Arabian history, with the sluggish rise in the cost of  living; a slowly developing but adequate infrastructure, a mounting but still manageable unemployment problem, a few well read Saudis  (factoring in the low energy nature of the average K.S.A. citizen) shouldn’t represent any sleepless nights for the current administration.

Like the adage about breaking a few eggs to make an omelet, cracking a few books (as well as writing a few) is the only avenue Saudis can take to begin producing a homegrown, resourceful intelligentsia that can truly compete with their western counterparts. Reading and writing aren’t banal tools used to transact deals in the world of global marketing, but a way to learn, participate and remain aware of the politic, social and all the other vicissitudes of life on earth that affect it.  Saudi Arabia doesn’t need more castles in the sand (that is– skyscrapers on the Corniche) but it does need to realistically nurture its own intellectual resources by overhauling its Educational system as well as create programs that inspire its youth with an intrinsic desire to learn rather than  just an extrinsic desire to earn.

Abu Muhammed is an American Muslim in Exile. He has a English; a M.A. in Education and is currently working on his doctorate in International Education.

By Sera Sekerci

A Web of Learning

It is election time in the States and Americans now focus their highly distractible intellects on the great race and
numerous rhetorical debates on who should wear the crown of president. The rest of the world – particularly the Middle East – shares an even more enthusiastic fascination with the drama and the occasional scandal percolating the soap opera of it.

Being the lone American among several Canadians and a number of Brits, I am invariably asked my opinion. Usually the Canadians are a little more than casually aware of the players (politicians) while the young Brits appear to be a little more acquainted than the Arabs (outside some who try to impress me with a brief chit-chat to show how worldly and sophisticated they are with short sentences regarding who’s running), but consider it none of their concern. The questions I am asked often focus on ‘who do you think will win?’ or more often, “who will you vote for?”

I always get the feeling they don’t really care — the Brits being obsessed with being polite even in the wake of the most bovine offense while the Canadians, feeling some geographic affinity to Americans, appear to be just better at not showing it.

“None of them,” I said once to a group of my students at the university sarcastically.

“Oh why teacher?” they respond — especially if we are in class and work is not as interesting as it should be. This is to get me to waste away the rest of our time in a pompous reminiscence that might be more amusing than writing essays.

“Why should I?” I asked; “more importantly, why do you care?”

“Don’t you care who will be president?”

“No, not really.”

“Why not?”

“The American people no more elect the president than you do.”

This brings the ‘excuse me’ looks to the surface.

“But teacher, why are they voting?”

“I think it just to make people feel better about not being able to choose,” I said indifferently.

“Teacher, I think you are joking with us,” the Ahmed who always sits in the back said with a chuckle. Though Ahmed spoke English pretty well, arguably was one of my best students, he had an uncanny resemblance to a Mexican or two I used to know in the States. He even wore a flannel shirt; had a Pancho Villa mustache and a really bad haircut (sort of what Pancho Villa should have looked like). Although he insisted he was Bengali (which made his claim seem credible since they were everywhere and some mixed with every race you could imagine), I still could not help but think that a large sombrero would complete his picture.

“Maybe I am and maybe I’m not,” I said. “You Arab guys like to bet, right?” A few nodded in acknowledgement. “Prove me wrong and I’ll give you a free pass on the next quiz — but if I am right, tell me why and I’ll give you an extra credit grade of an ‘A’ that you can replace a lower quiz grade. First one that sends me an answer by email before tomorrow wins. Make sure you tell me where you got it.”

Hence, one of my techniques to breech the subject of research to Gulf Arab students.

Picture 1 (Andy Clarke) & 3 courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Picture 2 courtesy of Abu Muhammed.

Abu Muhammed is an American freelance journalist and technical writer who lives and works in the Middle East. He teaches at a private college in Saudi Arabia and is a contributing blogger for the Mideast Posts. To read more of Abu Muhammed’s writing please visit Here

By Sera Sekerci

Performance-related pay: the debate

‘Performance-related pay (PRP) is a method of remuneration that links pay progression to an assessment of individual performance, usually measured against pre-agreed objectives (‘classic’ PRP, also known as individual PRP or merit pay). Pay increases awarded through PRP as defined here are normally consolidated into basic pay although sometimes they involve the payment of non-consolidated cash lump sums.’ (From here)

Or in other words, teachers will be paid on the results that their students return post-exam on top of a basic salary. So the more that students exceed their personal targets, the more the teacher gets paid.

There are lots of divisions within the debate and rather than repeat the points again here, I’m just going to draw together  a few sources who will explain some different positions that can be agreed or disagreed with.

For supporters of performance-related pay (PRP), look here.

For (passionate!) arguments against, look here.

And for something more objective, look here.

Leave comments on your opinions on the matter or visit our Facebook or LinkedIn pages to get involved with the other discussions!

By Sera Sekerci

Why study in the UK?

The UK has grown to become one of the top destinations to study in the world, with traditions of excellence dating back hundreds of years with much more to offer international students than other English speaking countries. International students have always been an important presence in the UK, and the numbers have been growing steadily. The UK is the second most popular destination for international students, behind the US and its easy to see why given the quality of education on offer.

But what makes the United Kingdom stand out? Why should you come to the UK as a destination to further your international education and language skills?


The British educational system has a first class reputation. Qualifications obtained from British schools and universities are recognised all over the world. Language teaching methods are well developed and are of a very high standard. We only work with institutions that are recognised and accredited by the British Council. This is a huge benefit as all British Council accredited institutions are regularly checked to ensure standards remain high, giving you a quality assurance guarantee. UK schools and colleges provide a vibrant, creative and challenging environment in which to learn and develop your potential.

By studying in the UK you will be building a solid foundation for your future. The quality of a UK education is recognised across the world by employers, universities and governments, which make it an attractive destination for international students. With more and more companies trading internationally, knowledge of the English language will hugely benefit any potential job application as English is the language of international business communication and is a very important credit to your CV.

Why should I go abroad to study English?

By leaving your country to study in the UK, regardless of your level, your English should improve quickly. You can practice your English daily and you will have many opportunities to hear, read and speak English in everyday life. When living abroad you can meet new people, experience new cultures, see new sights, and become more independent. English is the most commonly used international language and by studying in the UK you will be able to immerse yourself in the language, giving you the English skills you need for any future career.

Everything on Becoming an Air Traffic Controller
TES World Reputation Rankings
Study for a UK degree in Malta
Russian Global Scholarship Fund Opens Doors