(MENAFN - Arab News) Under the aegis of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, the Ministry of Education is organizing the First International Conference for School Transportation in Riyadh on Oct. 7-9.
Minister of Education Prince Faisal bin Abdullah has expressed his pride over the king's support for the conference, the first of its kind relating to school transportation in Saudi Arabia. He also disclosed that the Ministry of Education was currently providing school transportation services for more than 600,000 women students, representing a fourth of the total female students of general education in the country.
Prince Faisal said the conference aimed at publicizing the decision of the Council of Ministers dated Sept. 19, 2011, which approved doubling the number of girls covered by school transportation services.
He noted this conference would build on the experience of the Ministry of Education during the past four years and the hard work that led to the successful launch of school transportation for women students in all regions of the Kingdom. The minister confirmed that the conference would investigate and discuss the means to develop school transport to contribute to the consolidation of the acceptance and dissemination of public transport, identifying that school transport was integrated with the national mission to provide public transport services across the Kingdom.
Prince Faisal announced the primary goal of this conference was to develop the school transportation industry, raise the level of service, attract and encourage investors to participate in this area and increase the level of competition locally. The conference will focus on information exchange with operators of local school transport services and on successful international experiences in the field of school transportation.
He said the conference would be a vehicle for the ministry to address the following themes: security and safety, quality control, managing institutional change, provision of transport for other needs, planning for improvement, measuring financial performance, and generating value. During the conference, the ministry will review and present scientific papers, projects and successful experiences of many developed countries and specialists in the area of school transportation.
The meeting will include specialized workshops to encourage discussion between current front-line staff and those with successful experiences from other countries as well as with international institutions that have achieved distinctive successes in both school transportation and service improvement. It will also showcase speakers from both within and outside the Kingdom who represent leading authorities in the school transportation industry.
Participants from many government bodies will be invited, including the ministries of Interior, Transport, and Municipal and Rural Affairs, universities and institutes within the Kingdom as well as the relevant private companies within and outside the Kingdom. The ministry is keen to ensure the participation of nationals working in the field of school transportation as well as relevant bodies in the Gulf, other Arab states, and in the world in general.
The prince made it clear that the conference would include a global exhibition, to be attended by a variety of vendors operating in the school transportation market. This exhibition will display the latest software used for the management of school transport data and functions. In addition, companies and global institutions that specialize in school transportation will be invited to participate in the exhibition to provide information and advice on leading global experiences and encourage operational and commercial links between these companies and institutions and their counterparts within the Kingdom.
Concluding his statement, the minister expressed his hope that the conference would contribute to the realization of recent efforts to consolidate the concepts of school transportation through international experiences and the optimization of practices within the Kingdom.
The Ministry of Education is already working in cooperation with Tatweer Education Holding Company (THC), the strategic partner of the ministry in the organization of this conference. THC is also the ministry's strategic partner moving forward in managing and overseeing delivery of school transport services, as THC will develop the market for contracted operators, drive quality standard improvements and implement service expansion plans.