Methodology & Sectoral Indices

Launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, at the 2007 World Economic Forum in Jordan, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation (MBRF) aims to empower future generations to devise sustainable solutions that address challenges in the knowledge and research domains in the Arab world.
Under the key pillars of culture, entrepreneurship and education, the Foundation is committed to disseminating knowledge throughout the region by fostering ideas and innovation and funding research projects, activities and initiatives.
Since its establishment, the Foundation has launched a number of initiatives, including the ‘Dubai International Poetry Festival’, the ‘Arab German Dialogue’ and the ‘Arab Knowledge Reports’. MBRF also initiated the ‘Translate’ and ‘Write’ Programs under which more than 1,000 books were published. It also launched a ‘Business Incubators’ initiative in different Arab countries, besides scholarship programs which allowed students from the Arab world to enroll in prestigious universities around the world.
Since its restructuring in 2013, MBRF has conceptualized innovative ventures aimed at elevating the status of Dubai and the UAE on the regional knowledge map. These include the Knowledge Summit, the Arab Knowledge Index, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award, Dubai International Program for Writing and Bait El Shaier (House of Poetry). It has also established its position in the printing, publishing and distribution services sector with its investment project Qindeel. MBRF has also launched some major knowledge initiatives such as Bil-Arabi, A Book in Minutes, My Family Reads, Knowledge Page, and Knowledge Chair besides its magazines “Wamadat” and “Flashes”. It also hosted the “Nobel Prize Museum: Ideas Changing the World” for the first time in the Arab World.
MBRF carries out its work through its vision that the Arab region’s success depends on creating an environment conducive to acquiring knowledge and on providing tomorrow’s leaders with motivation to build a better future. Our mission is summarized in the pursuit to develop the region’s human resources via establishing a wide base of human capital with extensive set of skills and talents, and providing more opportunities to the young generation to quire knowledge and secure a better future. MBRF also promotes leadership skills among young people in order to improve the level and quality of their life.

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