JEDDAH — More than 50 students of both genders gathered in front of the Science and Technology College at Al-Hamra district in Jeddah in protest against the decision to transfer them to King Abdulaziz University (KAU) after the college was shut down by the authorities.
The protesters expressed their disappointment at the hasty decision by the Ministry of Higher Education to close their college and shift them to the KAU. More than 1,000 students have been affected by the decision.
The students say they are not happy to move to any other institution and want their college to reopen. They say no other college will accept their grades and credits and call for a fair decision that will end their dilemma.
“We want the authorities to allow our college, where we studied for the past three years, to function at least until we graduate. We have only one year left,” said a student who did not want to be named in this report.
An official of the Ministry of Higher Education was present at the location trying to pacify the students. The students said that they were shocked to learn that the college website was still running.
“It seems the college administration is not aware of the ministry’s decision to close it down,” said another student at the scene who identified himself as Basim.
Abdul Elah Jabir, one of the owners of the college, said copies of course plans and curriculum had been submitted to the KAU, which is expected to absorb the students and help them complete their education.
Jabir said the students would be reimbursed their tuition fees from Saturday. “The case is with the KAU now and the college has no say in it any more,” he said.
Jabir blamed the Jeddah municipality for the whole problem because it failed to issue a construction permit in time. He vowed that the college authorities would work to reopen the institution after completing all requirements.
A female engineering student accused the ministry of not following up on universities and colleges before they enroll students. “I personally had been through this dilemma before. I registered at the American University and then the ministry closed it down. Now after spending three years in this college they closed it, too. We realize after attending the program for three years that our college is not accredited. It is really a contradiction,” she said.
The ministry’s representative at the scene refused to speak to reporters, saying he was assigned to help the students, both Saudis and expatriates, register at King Abdulaziz University.