Educational Curve of Muslim Majority CountriesDownload

Zubair Zafar Khan

            Muslims are the second largest religious group after Christians in the world and ruling on around fifty one countries and own more than 80% oil reserves of the world. But in respect of educational progress they are far behind their neighboring countries.

Objectives: This essay seeks to highlight the educational conditions of Muslim Majority Countries in the World at present.

Findings: The conditions of Muslims are worse than one can expect without observing the data presented in this article. For instance, 51 Muslim Majority Countries collectively have 2313 Universities, while USA alone has 2138 Universities, Brazil 1844, Philippines 1321 Universities etc

Discussion: An attempt has been made in this essay to analyze the representation of Muslim Majority Countries in the field of education in comparison to the leading nations of the world in the light of latest data available.


WUR World University Ranking
WURS World University Ranking by Subjects
QSWUR Quacquarelli Symonds World University Ranking
ARWU Academic Ranking of World Universities
MMCs Muslim Majority Countries
CMCs Christian Majority Counties
BMCs Buddhist Majority Counties
HMC Hindu Majority Country
JMC Jews Majority Country
SWR Subject-wise Ranking
CIAWFC CIA World Fact Book



        Mostly, in the tables, at first the representation of MMCs in a particular field is mentioned afterwards the representation of other leading nations is presented so that the reader can easily compare and analyze the conditions of MMCs in that field. We have tried our level best to collect the data from the latest data sources; however, in a few cases the very recent changes may not be included. A large proportion of data is collected from the latest version of CIA World Fact Book. In several places the Acronyms were used in place of different terms. The full forms of those acronyms are given below in the table.


Education plays a crucial role in the all-round development of a nation or community. It puts the foundation of industrial and economic development. But the educational condition of Muslims in the whole world is sub-standard.

Globally, the definition of literacy is that ‘at the age 15 one can read and write’. The average literacy of the ‘World’ according to CIAWFC (World Fact Book) is 84.1%. In Males 88.6% are literate and in Females 79.7%.

Almost three-quarters of the World’s population, 775 million of illiterate adults are found in only ten countries (in descending order: India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Brazil, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo); of all the illiterate adults in the world, two-thirds are women; extremely low literacy rates are concentrated in South and West Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa (2010 est.) It should be noted that out of these ten, six are MMCs and one is India which has the second largest Muslim population in the World. Similarly if we see other indicators such as in Pakistan, 23 copies of daily newspapers per 1000 citizens, while in Singapore 460 per 1000 citizens. In UK book titles per million is 2000 in Egypt book titles per million is only 17 .

In the Table below the literacy conditions of all MMCs has been presented in comparison with the leading nations of the world- USA, China, Israel and the World. The literacy rate of MMCs ranges between 28-90 %. Indonesia has the highest literacy- total: 90, male 94 female 86 whereas Nigeria has the lowest- total 28, male 42 and female 15. In addition 6 countries have les then 70% in total literacy. In total, ‘Muslim World’ has the lowest rates of adult literacy correspond to the highest population growth rate.

  Country Literacy rate
%Total/M/ F
% EB
1 Afghanistan 28/43/12
2 Albania 99/99/98
3 Algeria 70/80/60 4.3
4 Azerbaijan 99/99/99 2.8
5 Bahrain 95/96/92 2.9
6 Bangladesh 57/61/52 2.4
7 Brunei 93/95/90
8 Burkina Faso 22/29/15 4.6
9 Chad 35/45/24 3.2
10 Comoros 75/80/70 7.6
11 Djibouti 68/78/58 8.4
12 Egypt 72/80/63 3.8
13 Guinea 41/52/30 2.4
14 Indonesia 90/94/87 2.8
15 Iran 77/83/70 4.7
16 Iraq 78/86/71
17 Jordan 93/96/89 0
18 Kazakhstan 99/100/99 2.8
19 Kosovo 92/97/88 4.3
20 Kuwait 93/94/91 3.8
21 Kyrgyzstan 99/99/98 5.9
22 Lebanon 87/91/82 1.8
23 Libya 89/95/82
24 Malaysia 89/92/85 4.1
25 Maldives 94/93/95 11.2
26 Mali 28/36/20 4.4
27 Mauritania 58/70/51 4.4
28 Mayotte 86
29 Morocco 56/70/44 5.6
30 Niger 29/43/15 4.5
31 Nigeria 61/72/50
32 Oman 81/87/74 3.9
33 Pakistan 55/69/40 2.7
34 Palestine or West Bank 92/97/88
35 Qatar 96/97/95 3.3
36 Saudi Arabia 87/90/81 5.6
37 Senegal 39/51/29 5.8
38 Sierra Leone 35/50/24 4.3
39 Somalia 38/50/26
40 Sudan 61/72/51
41 Syria 80/86/74 4.9
42 Tajikistan 99/99/99 3.5
43 The Gambia 50/60/40 2
44 Tunisia 74/83/65 7.1
45 Turkey 87/95/80 2.9
46 Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
47 Turkmenistan 99/99/98
48 United Arab Emirates 78/76/82 1.2
49 Uzbekistan 99/99/99
50 Western Sahara
51 Yemen 64/81/47 5.2
USA 99/99/99 5.5
China 92/96/88
Israel 97/99/96 5.9
World 84.1/88.6/79.7


In all of the MMCs the rate of female literacy is very low in comparison to males. While the literacy rate in USA is 99% in total as well as same in males and females.

Table 1.1 Literacy Rate
Source: CIA World Fact Book
Table 1.2 Universities in MMCs

  Country No. of Universities
1 Afghanistan 16
2 Albania 21
3 Algeria 74
4 Azerbaijan 30
5 Bahrain 14
6 Bangladesh 80
7 Brunei Darussalam 1
8 Burkina Faso 7
9 Chad 10
10 Comoros 2
11 Djibouti 4
12 Egypt 125
13 Guinea 17
14 Indonesia 517
15 Iran 137
16 Iraq 30
17 Jordan 29
18 Kazakhstan 124
19 Kosovo 10
20 Kuwait 5
21 Kyrgyzstan 21
22 Lebanon 36
23 Libya 13
24 Malaysia 45
25 Maldives
26 Mali 9
27 Mauritania 3
28 Mayotte
29 Morocco 144
30 Niger 9
31 Nigeria 103
32 Oman 8
33 Pakistan 121
34 Palestine 25
35 Qatar 1
36 Saudi Arabia 48
37 Senegal 70
38 Sierra Leone 2
39 Somalia 1
40 Sudan 39
41 Syria 20
42 Tajikistan 24
43 The Gambia 1
44 Tunisia 35
45 Turkey 158
46 Turk. Rep. of Northern Cyprus 8
47 Turkmenistan 15
48 United Arab Emirates 26
49 Uzbekistan 62
50 Western Sahara
51 Yemen 13
  Total 2313
USA 2138
Brazil 1844
Philippines 1321
Japan 692
India 601
China (mainland) 547
France 343
Germany 333



The above table compares the number of Universities in MMCs with the number of Universities in some leading countries. The total number of universities in 51 MMCs are 2313 while USA alone has 2138 Universities, Brazil 1844, Philippines 1321 universities etc. Indonesia has the largest number of universities among MMCs, that is 517. While Japan has 692 universities which have 4.9 times smaller land area and have 1.9 times smaller population than Indonesia. Let us compare Indonesia with Brazil. Indonesia has 1.2 times greater population than Brazil. Moreover Indonesia has 517 universities while Brazil has1844 universities. It implies that Brazil has 1327 more universities than Indonesia or in other words Brazil has 3.5 times more universities than Indonesia.

Muslim Universities and World University Rankings

Here we are presenting the representation of the Universities located in MMCs, in the World University Ranking League Table. There are several Institutions preparing their own University Rankings but here we are presenting QS World University Rankings (QSWUR) 2012-13 and examining the positions of Muslim Universities in it. At first a brief introduction of QS World University Rankings has given.

Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), a company that specializes in providing study abroad services, released the 2012 QS World University Rankings on September 11, 2012. In total, more than 2,500 universities were evaluated out of which more than 700 World Class Universities were mentioned in the list according to their ranks. Massachusetts Institute of Technology of USA achieved the top slot followed by Cambridge University on the second position.  However, four of the six top slots in the university “league table” were occupied by the UK universities. With MIT leading the list, Cambridge fell to No. 2 spot and Harvard University ranked third in the list. University College, London (UCL), Oxford University and Imperial College took fourth, fifth and sixth places respectively. Seventh place was awarded to Yale University, followed by University of Chicago, Princeton University and the tenth position to California Institute of Technology . But it has a little to applaud for MMCs due to their undermining condition in University Education. See the table below.

Table 1.3 : The representation of MMCs in ‘World University Ranking’, in different ranking groups in comparison to some leading nations of the world

USA UK Canada Japan China Malaysia Saudi Arabia Kazakhstan Egypt Indonesia Turkey Pakistan
Top 10 7 3
Top 100 31 18 3 6 3
Top 200 54 30 9 10 7 1 1
Top 400 83 45 16 16 9 5 3 2 1 1
Entire List 126 55 21 29 23 7 6 6 2 4 7 4


        The above table shows the ranks of MMCs in QSWUR 2012. The table shows that in top ten there is no representation of any MMC University whereas USA has seven and UK has three Universities in the class. Again in top hundred there is no representation of any MMC university. In top two hundred USA have 54 universities and UK, Canada, Japan, China have 30, 9, 10, 7 universities individually respectively. While MMCs all together have only 2 Universities in the group. In the same manner in top four hundred  USA, UK, Canada, Japan individually have more number of universities than collective gain of MMCs.

In total there are 61 Universities of MMCs in the list. There is no university of any MMC in the top 155 universities of the world. The First MMC University which was spotted in the list is Universiti Malaya (Malaysia) claiming 156th rank followed by King Saud University (Saudi Arabia) on 197th position. In the group of top four hundred Malaysia have five universities, Saudi Arabia have three,  Kazakhstan have two, Lebanon,  Indonesia, UAE and Egypt have one each. It implies that out of 49 MMCs only seven have been represented in the Top Four Hundred category. It should be noted that, the top 400 universities were ranked individually from 1st to 400th place. The remaining universities were ranked into the following categories: Top 401-450, Top 451-500, Top 551-600, and 601+. See the table blow.

If we sort-out the list under religious heads, the results are quite surprising. There are 524 universities of CMCs, 100 of BMCs, 61 of MMCs and 11 of HMC (India) and 05 of JMC (Israel) in the whole list. While in the in the top four hundred category 324 Universities of CMCs, 52 of BMCs, 14 of MMCs and 05 of HMC (India) and 04 of JMC (Israel). It implies that the representation of CMCs is 23.14 times higher than MMCs or in other words the number of Universities of MMCs is only 4% of CMCs. While the representation of BMCs is 3.7 times higher than MMCs or in other words MMCs are only 26% of BMCs. See the chart below.

Chart 1.1: Distribution of Universities in ‘World University Ranking’ under religious heads


Table 1.4 : Six years data of the representation of the Universities located in MMC in QSWUR

Sl. no 2012 Institute Country
1 156 Universiti Malaya (UM) Malaysia
2 197 King Saud University Saudi Arabia
3 208 King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals Saudi Arabia
4 250 American University of Beirut (AUB) Lebanon
5 261 Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Malaysia
6 273 University of Indonesia Indonesia
7 326 Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Malaysia
8 334 King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) Saudi Arabia
9 358 Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Malaysia
10 360 Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Malaysia
11 369 L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University Kazakhstan
12 370 United Arab Emirates University UAE
13 390 Al-Farabi Kazakh National University Kazakhstan
14 392 American University in Cairo Egypt
15 402 Al-Imam Mohamed Ibn Saud Islamic University Saudi Arabia
16 403 American University of Sharjah UAE
17 404 Bilkent University Turkey
18 412 International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) Malaysia
19 417 National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) Islamabad Pakistan
20 427 Sultan Qaboos University Oman
21 438 Universitas Gadjah Mada Indonesia
22 455 Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) Indonesia
23 463 Middle East Technical University Turkey
24 503 Sabanci University Turkey
25 507 Umm Al-Qura University Saudi Arabia
26 515 Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth Lebanon
27 526 Al Azhar University Egypt
28 527 Bogazici Universitesi Turkey
29 534 Hacettepe University Turkey
30 537 Istanbul University Turkey
31 538 Kazakh – British Technical University Kazakhstan
32 539 King Faisal University Saudi Arabia
33 549 Qatar University Qatar
34 573 University of Tehran Iran
35 577 Ain Shams University Egypt
36 578 Airlangga University Indonesia
37 579 Alexandria University Egypt
38 587 Baku State University Azerbaijan
39 592 Bogor Agricultural University Indonesia
40 598 Cukurova University Turkey
41 600 Diponegoro University Indonesia
42 603 E.A.Buketov Karaganda State University Kazakhstan
43 610 Jordan University of Science & Technology Jordan
44 613 Kazakh National Pedagogical University Abai Kazakhstan
45 614 Kazakh National Technical University named after K.I. Satpaev Kazakhstan
46 616 Khazar University Azerbaijan
47 619 Kuwait University Kuwait
48 620 Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) Pakistan
49 631 Qafqaz University Azerbaijan
50 634 Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology Indonesia
51 636 Sharif University of Technology Iran
52 637 South Kazakhstan State University (SKSU) Kazakhstan
53 674 Universiti Teknologi MARA – UiTM Malaysia
54 676 University of Baghdad Iraq
55 677 University of Bahrain Bahrain
56 680 University of Brawijaya Indonesia
57 687 University of Dhaka Bangladesh
58 688 University of Engineering & Technology (UET) Lahore Pakistan
59 689 University of Jordan Jordan
60 690 University of Karachi Pakistan
61 691 University of Lahore Pakistan
62 King Khalid University Saudi  Arabia
63 Cairo University Egypt
64 KOC University Turkey
65 Deponegoro University Indonesia


Table 1.5 MMCs in Academic Ranking of World Universities (China) 2012

Sl. No Rank University Country
1 201-300 King Saud University Saudi Arabia
2 301-400 King Abdulaziz University Saudi Arabia
3 301-400 King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals Saudi Arabia
4 301-400 University of Tehran Iran
5 401-500 Cairo University Egypt
6 401-500 Istanbul University Turkey
7 401-500 University of Belgrade Serbia
8 401-500 University of Malaya Malaysia


Subject-wise Ranking
SWR is an important tool to analyze more clearly the research performance and educational standard of different universities in different subject areas. Therefore it helps to attract international students to a particular university. Mostly the institutions which prepare University Rankings also prepare Rankings by subjects.

MMCs in QS World University Rankings 2012-13 by Subjects

The table below shows the representation of MMCs in QSWUR by Subjects. The data of the table is extracted from the QSWUR by subject 2012-13. In the source table the top fifty Universities were mentioned individually with respect of their ranks in each subject. Afterwards each group of fifty universities was mentioned collectively. These groups are 51-100, 101-150 and 151-200.
In the table below the SWR of 29 subjects were mentioned. In the beginning of every subject first we have displayed the top rank holder of the subject afterwards the ranking of MMCs in that subject is mentioned in the decreasing order.

Table 1.6 : QS MMCs in World University Rankings 2012-13 by Subjects with the top position holder in each subject

Subject Institution Rank Country
Philosophy University of Oxford 1 UK
Bilkent University 101-150 Turkey
Modern Languages Harvard University 1 USA
King Saud University 101-150 Saudi Arabia
American University of Cairo 151-200 Egypt
Cairo University 151-200 Egypt
Istanbul University 151-200 Turkey
University of Indonesia 151-200 Indonesia
Geography University of Oxford 1 UK
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) 101-150 Malaysia
Universiti Malaya (UM) 101-150 Malaysia
History University of Oxford 1 UK
Linguistics Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1 USA
Bogazici Universitesi 151-200 Turkey
English Language &
University of Cambridge 1 UK
King Saud University 101-150 Saudi Arabia
Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) 101-150 Malaysia
University of Indonesia 101-150 Indonesia
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) 151-200 Malaysia
Universiti Malaya (UM) 151-200 Malaysia
Computer Science and
Information System
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 1 USA
King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals 151-200 Saudi Arabia
Chemical Engineering Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 1 United States
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) 51-100 Malaysia
King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals 101-150 Saudi Arabia
Middle East Technical University 101-150 Turkey
Universiti Malaya (UM) 101-150 Malaysia
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) 101-150 Malaysia
Bogazici Universitesi 151-200 Turkey
Istanbul Technical University 151-200 Turkey
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) 151-200 Malaysia
Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) 151-200 Malaysia
Civil Engineering Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 1 United States
King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals 34 Saudi Arabia
Middle East Technical University 51-100 Turkey
American University of Beirut (AUB) 101-150 Lebanon
Istanbul Technical University 101-150 Turkey
Bogazici Universitesi 151-200 Turkey
Cairo University 151-200 Egypt
Sharif University of Technology 151-200 Iran
United Arab Emirates University 151-200 United Arab Emirates
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) 151-200 Malaysia
Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) 151-200 Malaysia
University of Tehran 151-200 Iran
Electrical Engineering Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 1 United States
Istanbul Technical University 101-150 Turkey
Middle East Technical University 101-150 Turkey
Universiti Malaya (UM) 101-150 Malaysia
Bogazici Universitesi 151-200 Turkey
Mechanical Engineering Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 1 United States
Istanbul Technical University 101-150 Turkey
King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals 101-150 Saudi Arabia
Middle East Technical University 101-150 Turkey
Universiti Malaya (UM) 101-150 Malaysia
Bilkent University 151-200 Turkey
Bogazici Universitesi 151-200 Turkey
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) 151-200 Malaysia
Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) 151-200 Malaysia
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) 151-200 Malaysia
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) 151-200 Malaysia
Medicine Harvard University 1 United States
Biological Sciences Harvard University 1 United States
Psychology Harvard University 1 United States
Pharmacy &
Harvard University 1 United States
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) 51-100 Malaysia
Universiti Malaya (UM) 51-100 Malaysia
Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) 151-200 Malaysia
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) 151-200 Malaysia
Physics & Astronomy Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 1 United State
Bogazici Universitesi 151-200 Turkey
Mathematics Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 1 United States
King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals 51-100 Saudi Arabia
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) 151-200 Malaysia
Environmental Sciences Stanford University 1 United States
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) 29 Malaysia
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) 101-150 Malaysia
University of Dhaka 101-150 Bangladesh
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) 151-200 Malaysia
Universiti Malaya (UM) 151-200 Malaysia
Earth & Marine Sciences Harvard University 1 United States
Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) 151-200 Indonesia
Chemistry Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 1 United States
Istanbul Technical University 151-200 Turkey
Material Science Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 1 United States
Istanbul Technical University 101-150 Turkey
Statistics & Operational
Stanford University 1 United States
King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals 51-100 Saudi Arabia
King Saud University 51-100 Saudi Arabia
Middle East Technical University 101-150 Turkey
Kuwait University 151-200 Kuwait
Sociology Harvard University 1 United States
Politics &
International Studies
Harvard University 1 United States
American University in Cairo 101-150 Egypt
Jawaharlal Nehru University 101-150 India
Bilkent University 151-200 Turkey
Law Harvard University 1 United States
Economics &
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 1 United States
Bilkent University 151-200 Turkey
Accounting & Finance Harvard University 1 United States
Communication &
Media Studies
Stanford University 1 United States
Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) 51-100 Malaysia
Istanbul University 101-150 Turkey
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) 101-150 Malaysia
Cairo University 151-200 Egypt
Multimedia University (MMU) 151-200 Malaysia
University of Tehran 151-200 Iran
Education Harvard University 1 United States
Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) 101-150 Malaysia
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) 101-150 Malaysia
Middle East Technical University 151-200 Turkey



        The above table shows the representation of MMCs in QSWUR 2012-13 by subject. The representation of MMCs in QSWUR by subject is also too undermining. Not a single university in the whole Islamic World remotely approaches the stature of European or American universities. Out of 29 subjects there is no representation of MMCs at all in six subjects. Those subjects are History, Medicine, Biological Sciences, Psychology and Law. In Philosophy, Linguistics, Computer Science and Information System, Physics & Astronomy, Earth & Marine Sciences, Material Science, Statistics & Operational Research, Economics & Econometrics only one University represents the whole Muslim world in each subject. Only two universities of MMCs acquired positions in top fifty universities of any subject. These are Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) achieved 29th rank in Environmental Sciences and King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals ranked 34th in Civil Engineering. The remaining all MMC universities lie in below 50 categories. Overall Malaysia leads the MMC in the universities having 32 universities in the table followed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran having 24, 9 and 3 universities respectively. Pakistan which is an important MMC has no representation at all while Bangladesh, Kuwait and UAE have one representation each. Another subject wise ranking prepared by Times Higher Education, for six subjects and the ranking of 50 universities prepared in each subject. But not a single University of any MMC found in the whole list.

Ph.Ds awarded by Country

Ph.Ds produced by a country is an important indicator which reflects the standard of higher of a Country. The list below shows the number Ph.Ds produced by MMCs in comparison to some leading nations. The source of the list is the website of World Bank which is mentioned in the references.  We have not found any other source which has latest data than this list so we have to depend on this list and mentioned it here. The list have three year data but not in the uniform manner. It should be noted that the names of the countries which were not mentioned in the list were also not mentioned in the source list. The largest number of Ph.Ds produced by a Muslim country is Tunisia which produced 18, 63 Doctorates in 2008 however the data of 2009 and 2010 is not available in the source list. In 2010 Turkey produced 884 Ph.Ds while in the same year China produced 48,987 Ph.Ds and USA produced 48,069 Ph.Ds. It is noteworthy that according to official information published on the website of the Chinese Ministry of Education, the country aimed to award 125,153 doctorates in 2011 . However the data of 2011 and 2012 is not available to us. But it is obvious that MMCs are far behind in producing Doctorates than other leading countries both on quantitative and qualitative levels.

Table 1.7 Number of Ph.Ds produced by Countries





Tunisia 1,863
Turkey 745 804 884
Iran, Islamic Rep. 751
Morocco 661
Egypt, Arab Rep. 438 420
Senegal 384
West Bank and Gaza 95 144 325
Pakistan 162
Kuwait 158 152
Albania 147
Burkina Faso 45
Indonesia 90
Iraq 49
China 48,987
USA 48,069

























Korea, Rep.




New Zealand














United Kingdom





























Russian Federation
















Czech Republic




Hong Kong SAR, China







Slovak Republic




















































Iran, Islamic Rep.










Macao SAR, China









Puerto Rico


Macedonia, FYR


Egypt, Arab Rep.



South Africa












Costa Rica



Venezuela, RB

















Sri Lanka























Observatories and Planetariums by Country

Telescopes are important tools of Modern educations and reflect the standard of education of a University. Mostly every eminent University in the West has its own Observatory, Planetarium and Telescope. But in Muslim Majority Countries they are hardly found except few. In the list below we are presenting the number of Observatories and Planetariums by Country. The findings of the list are quite amazing. There are 20 Observatories and 49 Planetariums found in all MMCs together while USA alone has 336 Observatories and 906 Planetariums even the New York city has 20 Observatories and 6 Planetariums. It implies that New York City of USA has equal number of observatories to what the whole ‘Islamic World’ has. Moreover the observatories which are found in MMCs are only Ground Based observatories which are relatively economical and have limited observation ranges as compare to other modern telescopes. But unfortunately MMCs have no such types of telescopes except Kazakhstan which have a cosmic ray observatory. In the second list below we have presented different types of Modern Telescopes and mentioned that which Telescopes are found in which Country including MMCs.

Table 1.8 Observatories and Planetariums by Country

Country No of Observatories No of Planetariums
Turkey 9 11
Pakistan 4 3
Uzbekistan 2 1
Lebanon 1 No
Algeria 1 (defunct) No
Azerbaijan 1 1
Indonesia 1 3
Iran 1 (defunct) 4
UAE No 6
Malaysia 2 5
Kazakhstan No 3
Kuwait No 3
Saudi Arabia No 2
Bangladesh No 2
Jordan No 1
Oman No 1
Qatar No 1
Tajikistan No 1
Egypt No 1
Total 20 49
USA 336 906
UK 35 26
New York 20 4


Types of Observatories

Astronomical observatories are mainly divided into four categories: space based, airborne, ground based and underground based. Many modern telescopes and observatories are located in space to observe astronomical objects in wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum that cannot penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere (such as ultraviolet radiation, X-rays, and gamma rays) and are thus impossible to observe using ground-based telescopes.[1] Being above the atmosphere, these space observatories can also avoid the effects of atmospheric turbulence that plague ground based telescopes; although new generations of adaptive optics telescopes have since then dramatically improve the situation on the ground. The space high vacuum environment also allow to free the detectors from the ancestral diurnal cycle due to the atmospheric blue light background of the sky, therefore increasing significantly the observation time.

The purpose of this list is to show how many types of telescopes are there and how many types the MMCs have. There are several types of telescopes but here we only mentioned major 11 types of telescopes namely, Space observatory, Gravitational-wave detector, Resonant bars, Antimatter observatory, Airborne observatory, Radio observatory, Microwave observatory, Solar observatory, Neutrino detector, Cosmic-ray observatory and Ground-based observatory. Among these observatories ground based observatories are very common and relatively affordable. The table reflects that only seven MMCs have ground based observatories. MMCs have no other type of observatory at all, except Kazakhstan which have a Cosmic-ray observatory. In modern times space telescopes are most important tools to observe space clearly but till today no MMC have a space telescope yet. The countries which have space telescopes of their own are, USA, European Union, China, Japan, UK, Germany, France, Russia, Italy, Canada, India, South Korea and Netherlands.

Table 1.9 Types of Observatories

Muslim Noble Laureates
Till today, 14 million Jews have won 180 Nobel prizes whilst 1.5 billion Muslims have achieved only 3 Nobel prizes.

The literacy and developmental conditions of all MMCs are too undermining. In every aspect of development the performance of MMCs is substandard weather it is Literacy, Economy, Science and Technology and Sports etc.  Since Education is a cornerstone of any development, the foundation on which much of economic and social well being is built. It is a key to increasing economic productivity and social cohesion. By increasing the value and efficiency of their labor, it helps to raise the poor from poverty; by increasing the overall productivity and intellectual flexibility of the populace, it helps to ensure that a country is competitive in world markets characterized by changing technologies and production methods; by increasing a child’s integration with disparate social or ethnic groups early in life, it contributes significantly to nation building and interpersonal tolerance. Today Muslims are the second majority of the world and ruling over 49 countries. The community that owns more than 80% oil reserves, but unfortunately far behind in educational sector. Total number of Universities in USA is 2138 and in Brazil has 1844, Philippines has 1321 Universities whereas MMCs have 2313 Universities altogether. Literacy in the Christian World 90% while, the literacy in the Muslim World 40% .

Since World University Ranking is a top window to observe the educational standard of a particular nation but the representation of the Universities situated in MMCs is not too satisfactory. Both ‘Overall Ranking’ and ‘Ranking by Subjects’ show the alarming conditions of University Education in MMCs. At the outset, out of 51 MMCs only 61 universities represented in the QSWUR of 700 universities. In overall ranking of QSWUR there is no representation of MMCs at all up to 155th rank. It is the Universiti Malaya (UM) which is able to achieve 156th position in the list. In the ‘Ranking of World Universities’ prepared by  a Chinese institution there is no University of any MMC in top 200 category and in 201-500 group only eight Universities of MMCs be able to get positions. In SWR of QSWUR, the columns of six subjects are about blank with the names of MMC universities. And in another eight subjects only one university of MMCs found in each subject. It is a time to think keenly that what are the factors responsible for this poor representation are and how it could be coped. Though in the recent years Universities of MMCs marked a slight enhancement their educational standards in comparison to previous years. In the above Table 1.6 the Universiti Malaya (UM) jumped up to 156th rank from 167th rank of last year. Similarly King Saud University is showing gradual increment in its position from 2009 to 2012. In 2009 it was ranked on 247th in 2009 and jumped up to 221st rank in 2010 then to 200th rank in 2011 and finally achieved 197th rank in 2012. In the same way some other universities of Saudi Arabia shows a gradual enhancement since last four or five years.  For instance Qatar is a hub to Education, a development zone that houses local branches of Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown, HEC, Texas A+M and other US and European universities.   Qatar is also committed to spending 2.8 per cent of GDP on research in 2011, probably the highest figure in the world. As Martin Ince Marked, “They may be at an early stage in their development, but investment schemes of Middle Eastern nations are beginning to pay dividends”. But these all meager improvements do not indicate a very big change in the standards of University Education in these nations.

So Muslims have to put especial emphasis on Education and also should increase the educational expenditure particularly on primary education. According to a source Pakistan has seven million children who do not go to schools, including 2.3 million between the ages of five to nine. As Ghafoor (a taxi driver) tells his story,
“I’ve had to pull my eldest child out of school because I can’t afford it. He cries every day, says he wants to go to school. I tell him we can either eat or he can go to school, and he says he’d rather starve,” said Ghafoor. “How do I make him understand? How do I make this right?”

In Western world 98% people complete their primary education and 40% goes to universities, whereas in Muslim world only 50% people completes primary education and 2% goes to universities. In UK, 2000 books are published for every one million people, whereas in Egypt, the number is only 20. Educational level of the common Arabs is also too low. As of 1982, Arab world produced 40 books per million habitants which is far below the world average 162 titles per million . Another report reveals; the Arab world translates about 330 books annually, one-fifth of the number that Greeks translate every year. As per United Nations ‘Arab Human Development Report’ , half of Arab women are illiterate. In total, 60% of Arab Muslims are illiterate. Almost half of the universities concentrate on teaching Islamic education and Islamic science. Fifteen percent of the Arab workforce is unemployed.  Only 1% of the Arab population has a personal computer, and only 0.5 % uses the Internet. These all facts indicate the lack of education in Muslims.

In Higher education the increase investment is also required. Particularly in Modern Science and Technology the conditions of Muslims are very undermining. For instance Iran is the alone MMC having an Aircraft Engine Manufacturing Firm in any MMC so far.  Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin of USSR was the first human to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961 and in 1969 Neil Armstrong was the first human to step on the Moon, but even after 52 years no MMC has its own spacecraft so far. Furthermore No MMC has so far its own Computer Manufacturing Industry, Mobile manufacturing Industry, Aircraft Carrier and Nuclear Submarine etc. MMCs have a long way to go for achieving global standards of Education and Economic development on both Quantitative and Qualitative levels and therefore due for a big push.


https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/xx.html (accessed 22/03/3013)
The Future of the Global Muslim Population, (27/01/2011), available on: http://www.pewforum.org/The-Future-of-the-Global-Muslim-Population.aspx (accessed 26/03/3013)
Spengler, The demographics of radical Islam, (23/08/2005), available at
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/GH23Aa01.html (accessed 24/03/3013)
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/xx.html (accessed 22/03/3013)
http://www.iau-aiu.net/content/list-heis (accessed 20/03/3013)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_and_dependencies_by_area (accessed 20/03/3013)
http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats8.htm (accessed 20/03/3013)

World university rankings: MIT on top, (12/09/2012), available at: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/world-university-rankings-mit-on-top/1001165 (accessed 28/03/3013)

QS World University Rankings – 2012, (11/09/2012), available on:

http://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/world-university-rankings (accessed 23/03/3013)
Academic Ranking of World Universities – 2012, available at:
http://www.shanghairanking.com/ARWU2012.html (accessed 20/03/3013)
For source table see: http://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/world-university-rankings/2012/subject-rankings (accessed 19/03/3013)
Ather Naveed,Muslim world’s condition, (05/12/2012), available at: http://dawn.com/2012/12/05/muslim-worlds-condition/ (accessed 23/03/3013)
Top 50 arts and humanities universities, available at:
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2012-13/subject-ranking/subject/arts-and-humanities (accessed 29/03/3013)
The country aimed to award 125,153 doctorates in 2011, http://blog.inomics.com/chinese-phds-vs-us-phds/
http://blog.inomics.com/chinese-phds-vs-us-phds/ (accessed 20/03/3013)
http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.SCIE.RD.P6 (accessed 23/03/3013)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_astronomical_observatories (accessed 23/03/3013)
Op.cit, see note 7.
Human Development Network, Education in the Middle East & North Africa: A Strategy Towards Learning for Development,  available at: http://www.worldbank.org/education/strategy/MENA-E.pdf (accessed 23/03/3013)
Op.cit, see note 7.
http://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/world-university-rankings/middle-eastern-universities-begin-make-their-mark  (accessed 25/03/3013)
Ince, Martin, Middle Eastern Universities begin to make their mark, (07/09/2011), available at: http://www.iu.qs.com/category/by-region/middle-east-by-region/page/2/ (accessed 26/03/3013)
Analysis: Tackling Pakistan’s Population Time Bomb (26/03/2013), available at: http://www.irinnews.org/report/96969/Analysis-Tackling-Pakistan-s-population-time-bomb (accessed 18/03/3013)
Op.cit, see note 24.
Ibid. See also, Eickelman, Dale F. and Piscatori, James, Muslim politics, (Oxford India Press Delhi, India, 1997), pp: 36.
Op.cit, see note 24.
Gattuso, Thierry (2005), Why do Moslems Underachieve? Faith Freedom International, (Last accessed 04th January / 2006). See also, Op.cit, see note 24.
Op.cit, see note 24.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuri_Gagarin (accessed 22/03/3013)

Zubair Zafar Khan, Ph.D, is currently Guest Lecturer in the Department of Islamic Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi, Email: drzubairkhan@gmail.com