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Academic freedom of faculty members at Kuwait University: issues of understanding and freedom of research and publishing

Ghareeb, Nabeel 2010. Academic freedom of faculty members at Kuwait University: issues of understanding and freedom of research and publishing. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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Abstract

This study examines the academic freedom of academics in Kuwait University. Academic freedom at Kuwait University remains ambiguous, with a lack of understanding in the absence of an institutional definition. This has led to infringement on the rights of academics to freely pursue research and publication. This study attempts to identify Kuwait University faculty members' understanding, and explore the extent of academic freedom available to them in research and publishing. It investigates the obstacles, and recommends ways of improving the space of academic freedom. A mixed approach of quantitative questionnaire distributed to a sample of 384 academics using stratified random sampling, and qualitative interviews were used. Academics offered six different definitions for academic freedom, covering freedom of research and publication, and that of teaching, research, and publication, with differing criteria. Academic freedom was considered by some to be absolute, while others cumulatively added one, two or all three conditions of being limited to specialisation without interference by external parties, taking into account prevailing values in society, and respecting the laws enacted by the State. The obstacles to freedom of research and publication included bureaucracy and lengthy administrative procedures in securing approval of research, and absence of clear policy defining what is sensitive, what can be addressed in research, and what conflicts with the values of society. Limited funding for research projects, lack of reference materials, and equipment, and interference of funding bodies were cited. The limited time allocated for research due to high teaching load, and limited training in research skills and languages, added to lack of sufficient cooperation between researchers in the absence of a coordinating framework. Finally, lack of practical implementation of research and benefit to society, which isolates researchers and research from society's needs. The questionnaire also revealed core differences in responses illustrating weakness in the extent of faculty members' freedom in conducting research, and publishing. The study recommended that Kuwait University move to address the shortcomings revealed by the study instruments, in particular, to formulate a comprehensive definition for academic freedom for academics.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
ISBN: 9781303195952
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:29
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/54406

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