Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz chaired the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers yesterday and reviewed the Kingdom’s educational affairs, affirming that this sector receives his personal attention and underlining the importance given to education by the government, which considers that investing in manpower and improving the technical and productive capacity of the work force constitute the backbone of economic development and social prosperity.
General education is provided for males and females in all cities and villages of the various provinces in the Kingdom through the Ministry of Education, the General Presidency for Girls’ Education, and a number of other governmental bodies. Minister of Higher Education Dr. Khaled Al-Angary, who is also acting Minister of Information, reported that King Fahd further pointed out that these institutions also generate educational opportunities for certain special groups, such as the program for the eradication of illiteracy, and courses for the elderly. As for higher education, there are 70 colleges in the Kingdom’s seven universities and their branches, and 78 institutes attached to a number of ministries as well as to the Ministry of Education. King Fahd said that during the Fifth Five-Year Development Plan, more than SR 153 billion (U.S. $ 40.8 billion), about 18 percent of the total budget, had been allocated for the expansion of the educational sector.
At the start of the current academic year, the total number of female students is more than two million, in 11,441 girls’ schools, 180 teacher training institutes for women, and 30 vocational training institutes for girls, in addition to 21 private establishments and 61 colleges of higher education. Male students number over two million, in 11,191 boys’ schools at various levels. In the area of higher education, statistics up to the hijrah year of 1416 [which ended May 17, 1996] show a total of 306,584 students, male and female, 297,830 for bachelor degrees, 7,288 for master degrees, and 1,466 for doctorate degrees. For vocational education, there are 62,354 students in 334 schools. In his message to students for the new academic year, King Fahd urged greater efforts for the sake of the development of the country, and praised the role of faculty members at all universities, colleges and schools. King Fahd called on the officials in the education sector to strive to provide better facilities for all students.
Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General, then briefed the cabinet on the outcome of his recent visit to Yemen. The cabinet expressed satisfaction at the efforts exerted to boost cooperation between the two countries for their mutual welfare and benefit. On the situation in Chechnya, King Fahd expressed happiness over the cease-fire and the peace in that area.