(MENAFN - Arab News) Minister of Higher Education Khaled Al-Anqari yesterday highlighted the role of Saudi universities in transforming the Kingdom into a knowledge economy and training young Saudi men and women and developing their various skills and capabilities.
Addressing the third scientific conference of higher education students in the Kingdom, which is being held under the patronage of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, he commended the quality of research projects presented by Saudi students at the conference.
"The success of the first and second conferences provided a reasonable ground to encourage such conferences that are being supported by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah," Al-Anqari said.
"These conferences have been organized on King Abdullah's directives as he strongly believes in science and scientific research, particularly if such things come from future builders of the Kingdom," he said.
Earlier, Muhammad Al-Ouhali, undersecretary for educational affairs at the ministry and head of the organizing committee, said the conference was aimed at developing the Kingdom's human capital and leadership capacities of students for their effective contribution to development.
He said the conference has received 3,292 pieces of work prepared by students representing 41 universities and colleges. A total of 597 pieces of research were qualified for the final stage.
Overall patents received by the organizers stood at 175, of which 19 pieces of work qualified for the final stage. The number of artistic works and documentary films for the final stage stood at 75 and 15 among them were selected, he said. Meanwhile, Al-Anqari signed contracts worth SR940.27 billion to implement a number of educational projects at four universities.
The new projects include a medical research center, a sports city and cultural and recreational facilities at King Saud University, buildings for the college of applied medical sciences for girls and a sports stadium for Najran University.
A building for parking cars will be constructed at Taibah University, the ministry statement said while explaining the projects. The contract signed for King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals was for the operation and maintenance of a number of university facilities, it added.
Speaking to reporters after the signing ceremony, Al-Anqari said the projects were aimed at completing infrastructure facilities for Saudi universities in various parts of the Kingdom in order to create a suitable learning atmosphere for students.
The signing of new contracts comes after King Abdullah launched the second phase of university campus projects in different regions of the Kingdom during a function in Riyadh on Monday. The second phase will witness the implementation of higher education projects worth SR81.5 billion including 18 higher education cities and academies.