Saudi Arabia to open doors for foreign universities

KAUST university.

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — Minister of Education Dr. Hamad Al-Sheikh said that branches of foreign universities will be opened in the Kingdom under the new Law of Universities, approved by the Council of Ministers on Tuesday.

He thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman for the adoption of the new law that would bring about remarkable qualitative changes in the Kingdom’s higher education sector, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The branches of foreign universities will be allowed in accordance with specific controls so as to enhance competition in raising the efficiency of the university education system, he said while spelling out the salient features of the new law in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency.

Al-Sheikh said that the new law would bring about qualitative leap in the march of Saudi universities on the basis of empowerment, excellence and quality, and contribute to develop the educational and research work.

“It would also be instrumental in raising the efficiency of spending, developing financial resources and human capabilities for universities in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. The application of the law will start gradually on three universities in the first phase, and give these universities a transitional period of one year from the date of implementing the draft law.”

Under the new law, universities will enjoy independence in accordance with the general policy approved by the State. There will be a Council for the Affairs of Universities with the membership of a number of government agencies and representatives of the private sector; a board of trustees in each university to contribute to achieve governance, and international advisory councils to expand the base of participation in decision-making.

The minister pointed out that the new law allows universities to activate their own resources, allows them to establish endowments and companies, and enable them to approve their specialties and programs. The universities can choose their leaders on the basis of efficiency, and improve their outputs in response to the needs of the labor market, in addition to creating job opportunities for the citizens in universities on the basis of competitiveness.

Al-Sheikh reiterated the ministry’s determination, together with the support of the wise leadership, to achieve unprecedented qualitative gains at several levels of education and research, and activating the role of universities in community service and development.