(MENAFN - Arab News) Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah is to launch the first phase of university campus projects in different regions and lay the foundation for its second phase worth SR 81.5 billion, Higher Education Minister Khaled Al-Anqari announced.
He said the king would launch new campuses of Jazan, Taif, Tabuk, Hail, Baha, Najran, Al-Jouf, Majmaa and Shaqra universities, Prince Salman University in Al-Kharj, and Northern Province University.
Other higher education facilities to be opened by the king are: King Abdulaziz University branch in North Jeddah, KAU branch in Rabigh, King Abdullah City for Girls at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University, the new campus for girls at King Saud University and the girls' colleges complex at Umm Al-Qura University.
The minister thanked King Abdullah for his continuous and generous support to higher education. The new university projects that cover all regions would bring about an educational renaissance in the Kingdom and boost its progress and prosperity.
The number of government universities in the Kingdom jumped from 15 in 2004 to 32 - an increase of 113 percent. During the same period the number of colleges rose from 314 to 452 (43.9 percent), teaching staff 71.6 percent to 47,997 and research papers 73.3 percent to 3,047. Total government spending on higher education increased from SR 13.37 billion to SR 46.9 billion.
Sixteen university campuses will be in phase two, which visualizes building 166 new colleges, 161 support service projects, 10,841 housing units and 12 university hospitals with 3,800 beds. The new projects will cover a total area of 112 sq. meters.