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Saudi’s idle citizens
The Kingdom is aggressively trying to promote education in a bid to limit rising levels of unemployment.
January 21, 2010 1:51 by Aarti Nagraj
On Thursday, the Kingdom also said it would extend its foreign scholarship program for five more years. The program was started five years ago to sponsor Saudi students to pursue degrees in foreign universities and more than 60,000 students have benefitted from it so far.
Khaled al-Anqari, Saudi’s Higher Education Minister, said the extension of the program would “boost the Kingdom’s higher education and overall development.”
In December last year, while announcing the 2010 budget, Saudi’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz announced that a quarter of the Kingdom’s $146 billion budget would be spent on education.
“The allocation of SAR137.6 billion ($36.7 billion) for education and training emphasizes the government’s desire to invest in Saudi citizens, considering human development as the core of real development,” Ali al-Attiyah, deputy Minister of Higher Education said at the time. The amount represented a 13 percent increase over the educational funding in 2010.
This budget will fund the King Abdullah Project for Development of Public Education, create 1,200 new schools and complete 3,000 school buildings already under construction. It would also be used for the construction of four new universities and the expansion of existing ones.
But while these measures have created greater educational opportunities for young Saudis, will they make adequate use of it? And will qualified Saudis be willing to work long hours in the private sector?