DAMMAM — The Ministry of Higher Education plans to ensure that 50,000 Saudis graduate from the world’s top 500 universities by the year 2020, said Dr. Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Mousa, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Higher Education for Scholarships.
This will be the 10th stage of the King’s Overseas Scholarship Program and will ensure that students are trained in skills needed by the Kingdom’s economy, Al-Mousa added.
Currently, there are 130,397 students studying abroad. Of these, 87,844 students were sent on scholarships by the Ministry of Higher Education, 11,854 are studying English, 14,103 are civil servants sent on scholarships and 16,596 students are studying at their own expense.
“The 7th stage of the King’s Scholarship Program has been completed and work on the 8th and 9th stages are scheduled to take place in 2014,” Al-Mousa told Saudi Press Agency (SPA) Saturday.
He said the ministry’s statistics show that 70.3 percent of these students are studying commerce, business administration, engineering, information technology, medical services and medicine in six countries including the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, Egypt and Jordan.
The ministry, Al-Mousa said, is making every effort to meet the requirements of students in 27 countries through its electronic services facility, which is linked to the cultural and educational attaches in the host countries. He said 40,000 operations are carried out on a daily basis through the service, including the issuing of travel tickets, identity documents and financial guarantees, without the need to appear in person.
Al-Mousa said the good conduct and discipline of Saudi students abroad have negated the stereotype image of Saudi society. He said many students have set up volunteer and charity organizations, which are officially registered in the United States, Canada and Britain. He said some students have been shifted from studying humanities to other subjects needed by the Saudi economy. This includes human resources, accountancy and marketing.
Al-Mousa said the Kingdom is following the statements issued by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on skills which are needed, including medicine, engineering and computer sciences. He said one of the difficulties facing Saudi students abroad is the nature and rules of most foreign universities. Some students have even requested transfers to universities with flexible rules.
He said the ministry pays tuition fees, projects and laboratory costs on time. — SG/SPA