Saudi Arabia makes the grade by placing higher education as its top priority
There are more than 1.1 million students at public and private universities
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The Council of Ministers, chaired by Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, on Monday emphasized the government’s efforts to provide higher education to Saudi students all over the Kingdom.
The Cabinet was commenting on the recent directive issued by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to establish three new universities in Jeddah, Bisha and Hafr Al-Baten. “The decision reflects the king’s desire to promote higher education in the Kingdom,” the Cabinet said.
Economy and Planning Minister Mohammed Al-Jasser said the establishment of more universities would boost the Kingdom’s progress and prosperity. “Saudi Arabia’s five-year plans have given top priority to education,” he said.
Mohammed Al-Saleh, secretary-general of the Higher Education Council, said there are 500 colleges under the Kingdom’s 25 public universities.
“There are more than 1.1 million students at public and private universities,” he said.
He stressed the need for a new university in Jeddah to reduce the pressure on King Abdulaziz University, which has about 170,000 students on its rolls. Jeddah University, meanwhile, will have 48,000 students.
Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja said the Cabinet condemned the terrorist bombings that took place near the University of Cairo, which resulted in the death and injury of several innocent people, reaffirming the Kingdom’s rejection of all forms of terrorism.
The Cabinet called for concerted efforts made by the international community to discuss ways to prevent committing crimes of genocide and repeated massacres, while commending the International Conference on the Prevention of Genocide in Brussels. It appealed to the international community to stand firmly to prevent the sufferings of the Syrian people from the regime’s crimes.
The Cabinet hoped that the Riyadh Metro project would contribute to facilitating traffic in the city. The Cabinet changed the name of Dar Al-Ifta to the General Presidency of Scholarly Research and Religious Edicts. The Standing Committee for Fatwa shall issue religious edicts in affairs concerning government agencies and personal matters, Khoja said.
The Cabinet also approved a general agreement of cooperation with Afghanistan. It authorized the foreign minister to sign an agreement for cooperation with Mozambique.
After reviewing the report submitted by the minister of justice and chairman of the General Authority for Funds of Minors and the like, the Cabinet approved the appointment of the following as members of its Board of Directors for a period of three years:
Sheikh Yusuf bin Abdullah Al-Shubaily, Sheikh Ahmed bin Yahiya Al-Faifi, Mohammed bin Saud Al-Osaimi, Abdullah bin Saeed Al-Mobty, Ajlan bin Abdulaziz Al-Ajlan, Abdul Rahman bin Fahd Al-Jabr, Abdul Aziz bin Hamad Al-Jumaih, Yassin bin Khalid Khayat, and Saad bin Ibrahim Al-Muaqel.
The Cabinet approved the statute of the Statistical Center of Gulf Cooperation Council. It appointed Ali bin Abdul Rahman Al-Khalifa civil engineering adviser at the Ministry of Defense; Mohammed bin Suleiman Al-Hudaithi administrative adviser at the Ministry of Higher Education; Abdullah bin Ali Al-Manie director general of Administrative and Financial Affairs at King Abdulaziz Military College, Ministry of Defense; Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al-Bassam mayor of Onaizah at the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs; Hatem bin Omar Taha deputy mayor Madinah; Ibrahim bin Zaid Al-Madhi director general of the Higher Education Minister’s office; Ali bin Suleiman Al-Hanaki director general of National Center for Social Studies and Research at the Ministry of Social Affairs; and Nasser bin Abdullah Al-Kharaan director general of the state minister’s office.
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