Methodology & Sectoral Indices

Considering the importance of knowledge and its role in achieving sustainable human development, the Arab Knowledge Index seeks to inform the decision-making process based on the systematic analysis of data, facts and information. Building on the three previously published Arab Knowledge Reports, the AKI adopts a scientific methodology up to the highest international standards, taking into account the specificities of the Arab region and its development dilemmas. It employs six composite sub-indices: Pre-University Education; Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET); Higher Education; Economy; ICT; and R&D and Innovation, which all interact with each other.

The Arab Knowledge Index covers all 22 Arab countries and employs the most recent and reliable data for each of the variables and the countries. Construction of constituent indicators and the selection of feeding variables is based on a scientific process that has also been further verified and refined through consultations with leading experts from inside and outside the Arab region.

Download the Concepts and Methodology 2016 ( 14 pages, 397 KB) from the Arab Knowledge Index 2016

Download the Concepts and Methodology 2015 ( 18 pages, 342 KB) from the Arab Knowledge Index 2015

At the statistical level, data was collected from credible international datasets (UNESCO, World Bank, ILO, World Economic Forum) and treated as if clean and error-free, in addition to addressing any variables that might potentially incur bias on the values of the indicator, by using appropriate statistical methods. Total interpretive values of the sectoral indicators were standardised on a scale from 1 to 100. Arithmetic aggregation was used in determining the values of sub-indicators for the Arab Knowledge Index through applying a series of consecutive aggregations, starting at the variables' level and up to reaching the final Index level. Results indicated non-sensitivity of the indicators to the methods of standardisation and weight-assignment and aggregation.

Internal weights were set independently in each sectoral index, and similarly at the level of pillars, sub-pillars, components and sub-components, with some being assigned equal weights and others using methods of budget allocation and variable analysis. Assigned weights by either the budget allocation or variable analysis ended up in high coherency with each other, and also in line with the preliminary anticipations of the researchers in accordance with the conceptual and theoretical frameworks.

Download the Statistical Methodology 2016 ( 6 pages, 400 KB) from the Arab Knowledge Index 2016

Download the Statistical Methodology 2015 ( 8 pages, 224 KB) from the Arab Knowledge Index 2015

Discuss the Methodology


Core Team

Education plays a vital role in building the future of nations and represents a gateway to achieving knowledge society. However, for education to succeed in fulfilling its mission of securing human capital that is capable of producing knowledge and carrying the torch of sustainable human and social development, education systems must rely upon insightful and vigilant policies. Such policies must satisfy the requirements of the present without being distracted from exploring and preparing for the future. In this historic era of transformation at all levels, Arab policymakers in education face overwhelming challenges. These challenges compel them to introduce methodological systems for monitoring and assessment that both identify the benefits and diagnose the difficulties associated with education provision, thereby enabling them to lead with competence and success. 

This understanding constitutes the framework for this work, which aims to produce a composite index that efficiently measures Pre-University Education in the Arab region. The production of the Index carefully responds to modern concepts of education which consider Pre-University Education to be a comprehensive means of preparing pupils for lifelong learning, and takes into consideration interactions with an enabling environment as well as general contextual circumstances.

Download the Pre-University Index 2016 ( 14 pages, 455 KB) from the Arab Knowledge Index 2016

Download the Pre-University Index 2015 ( 20 pages, 295 KB) from the Arab Knowledge Index 2015


The Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Index seeks to assess the state of TVET in the Arab region from the wider perspective on knowledge and development, especially as this sector plays a vital role in achieving the knowledge society and comprehensive sustainable human development. The TVET sector has recently been gaining increased attention, especially at the level of international organizations (such as UNESCO, World Bank, and European Union) being described as “learning for the world of work”.

TVET sector is directly associated with many development challenges, the most notable one probably is youth unemployment, and mismatch between the labor force qualifications and the evolving needs of the labour market, the dynamics of supply and demand in the labour market. Additionally, TVET contributes to the personal development of individuals who are capable of integration in the knowledge society, further promoting innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship among youth. 

Download the TVET Index 2016 ( 12 pages, 424 KB) from the Arab Knowledge Index 2016 

Download the TVET Index 2015 (18 pages, 298 KB) from the Arab Knowledge Index 2015

The higher education sector stands out in being one of the most important sectors in the development of human capital and knowledge production in any society. It also contributes to the development of personal skills and attributes, promoting the values of citizenship and social participation among individuals. All these efforts however remain limited unless coupled with efforts at the level of enhancing the quality of education processes and the quality of outputs.

The Higher Education Index is based on a systematic view of the higher education sector, approaching it at three main levels: inputs, processes and outputs.

Download the Higher Education Index 2016 ( 12 pages, 434 KB) from the Arab Knowledge Index 2016 

Download the Higher Education Index 2015 ( 14 pages, 272 KB) from the Arab Knowledge Index 2015


ICT (Information and Communications Technology) plays an increasingly central role in the development of a country at the level of all sectors, be it industry, economy, education, healthcare, politics (media), creative, infrastructure, logistics and services. Hence it is important to have a set of specific indicators reflecting the state of ICT in each country as per the international standards for devising indicators. This shall inform the decision making process, improve the policy-making process, empower individuals, and enhance the efficiency, effectiveness and interaction at the level of individuals, enterprises and governmental authorities.

The ICT index takes into consideration significant direct and indirect factors that affect the state of ICT in a country, such as the quality of primary education and TVET education, Research and Development, innovation, legal environment, ease of doing business, and the quality of healthcare.

Download the ICT Index 2016 ( 8 pages, 421 KB) from the Arab Knowledge Index 2016

Download the ICT Index 2015 ( 15 pages, 274 KB) from the Arab Knowledge Index 2015


The effective investment of knowledge to support economic development has become a primary concern for many societies. However, as the digital gap widens between developing and developed countries, moving towards a knowledge economy has become a more challenging transformation for developing societies facing declining productivity and limited economic capabilities alongside persistent poverty, unemployment and other social and economic problems.

The Economy Index is constructed by taking into consideration several factors related to knowledge and development, including: the organizational performance of the economy, quality and management of human resources, the role of ICT in the economy, creative development, innovation and entrepreneurship. At a more detailed level, the index pillars include sub-pillars and components related to: knowledge infrastructure and knowledge use in economic processes, openness, economic structures, efficiency and effectiveness, training and capacity-building, research and development, technological capital in production, and innovation at the level of production.

Download the Economy Index 2016 ( 10 pages, 425 KB)

Download the Economy Index 2015 ( 18 pages, 340 KB)


The Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) Index is a composite index linking the variables of Research and Development to the contexts of technological and non-technological innovation by virtue of their active role in the production, localisation and use of knowledge — all considered important factors contributing to accelerating economic growth rates and supporting sustainable development.

While Arab countries are currently of very modest capacity in terms of their knowledge outputs in comparison with developed countries, the need to establish a solid research foundation is a priority not only for strengthening the knowledge dimension, but also for following the global trend towards innovation. Literature, including many international reports and studies, highlight that countries which enjoy high levels of economic development, political stability and social balance, have succeeded as well in making a significant leap in the areas of R&D, innovation and technological development, with the latter four being distinctive features of the knowledge era. Decision makers in this field need indicators that can be relied upon in measuring the progress achieved by countries towards reaching the knowledge society and economy.

Download the RDI Index 2016 12 pages, 418 KB) from the Arab Knowledge Index 2016

Download the RDI Index 2015 18 pages, 306 KB) from the Arab Knowledge Index 2015