Saudis prioritize school construction projects
An American consortium has been granted in April a permit for the financing and construction of educational facilities throughout the Kingdom, considered to be the largest foreign investment project in the Arab world, according to the Saudi General Investment Authority (SAGIA).
The American group is expected to invest a total of 13 million Saudi riyals ($3.4 million) in the construction of some 3,000 schools, based on the BOT (Build, Operate, Transfer) system, reported Al-Sharq Al-Awsat daily.
Each of the four American firms, constituting the consortium, will provide an equal share of investment. The members of the American consortium; SGI Global, AIG, STE2EP and Dowd, Sanford and Mazza, will form a new company, Educational Utilities Development
The Ministry of Education had previously published a tender to build 200 schools costing 1.3 billion Saudi riyals ($346 million). However, sources in the Ministry maintained that the Kingdom needs 10,000 new schools for both boys and girls in upcoming years.
Saudi government sources reported that the new public budget provides for the construction of 800 new schools. The Ministry presently rents 4,200 school buildings at the cost of an extra 2,000 Saudi riyals ($533.3 million) per pupil, compared to the cost of state owned schools.
Saudi Arabia has reiterated its commitment to the education of its citizens’ as a top priority, thus the sector receives the second largest allocation of budgetary funds under the Government's Five-Year Development Plans.
During the sixth phase of the 1995-2000 development plan, the sector was awarded a massive $33 billion. The program also aims to encourage businesspeople to invest the Saudi education system. ― (MENA Report)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)