(MENAFN - Arab News) The international exhibition & conference on higher education (ieche 2014) that concluded in riyadh on friday was the biggest ever event for higher education held in the kingdom.
as many as 450 universities and educational institutions from the kingdom and across the world participated in the annual event which offers world-class educational facilities to saudi students.
the us has for the first time almost doubled its participation this year with more than 100 universities taking part while the kingdom boasts around 60 universities and educational institutions at this year's expo.
the uk has slightly increased its participation from 73 last year to nearly 80 this year. australia canada japan and malaysia are also among the top 10 participants. the expo saw a huge turnout on thursday and friday including high school graduates many of whom were accompanied by their parents.
several female students and exhibitors were also seen at the venue highlighting the growing presence of saudi women in the employment market. here were also new colleges at the road show besides popular saudi universities.
while a majority of saudi students were keen on gaining admission to foreign universities non-saudis were seen enquiring about admission to local universities.
many were ecstatic to see a special desk launched under the higher education ministry awarding scholarship grants to foreigners.
'we do grant scholarships to excellent foreign students. the terms and conditions are the same as those applicable to saudi students" basim al-zahrani an official at the expo told arab news. 'we are however only entertaining foreigners who are willing to study at saudi universities. all of our courses are on offer with the exception of medicine."
'students have to score high marks in their 'qiyas' (talent measure) and 'tahseeli' (achievements) test here in saudi arabia a separate test given to both saudis and foreigners who are willing to continue their higher studies in the kingdom" he said.
'the saudi government awards scholarships to outstanding students from various countries around the world" he said.
education a top major priority in the national budget with a huge allocation for higher education.
it covers not only educational expenses of saudi students going abroad but also the cost of living of family members who accompany them during their study.
according to its online guidelines for winning scholarship grants applicants should be between the ages of 17 and 25 and should be at least 30 years of age to pursue a master's degree and 35 for a doctoral degree.