Private sector to build, operate 1,600 schools


By Abdullah Al-Ghamdi

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

RIYADH — The private sector will finance construction and operation of 1,600 schools all over the Kingdom, Education Minister Ahmed Al-Issa said on Monday while opening a conference on the investment opportunities available in the partnership with the ministry to construct school buildings.

"The project will start by building 60 schools in Makkah and Jeddah as a first stage in all the general educational levels," he said.

The minister described the project as "strategic" and said it will rid the ministry of more than 5,000 rented buildings which house schools at present.

"We are aiming at supplementing the direct government support for the school buildings by the partnership with the private sector in the construction and operation of the schools," he said.

The minister said partnership with the private sector is vital for the ministry and will have a great impact on the development of education.

"This partnership will open a wide door for the private sector to cooperate with the ministry in the construction and operation of schools in various parts of the Kingdom," he said.

Al-Issa said the project, which was approved by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, the Council of Economic Affairs and Development and the Ministry of Fiance will be supervised by the ministers of finance and economy and planning.

"We hope that the project will lure the investors and businessmen to participate with us not only in this project but also in all the other projects which will soon be announced," he said.

CEO of Tatweer (development) company for buildings, Fahd Al-Hammad said schools to be built by the private sector for the Ministry of Education will consist of kindergartens and primary, intermediate and secondary schools for both boys and girls in Makkah and Jeddah.

"This is the largest project of its kind for the construction of school buildings," he said.