Representatives of universities, leaders of general education sectors, and heads of chambers of commerce and industry in the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) met today in Dhahran to begin their third forum. The two-day conference will address a number of wide-interest issues, with emphasis on the potential of partnership between education and the private sector in the GCC countries. In remarks yesterday at a reception in Dhahran which launched the forum while also honoring the fifteenth Career Day of the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Prince Nayef Ibn Abdul Aziz, Minister of Interior and Chairman of the Saudi Manpower Council announced that work is currently underway to establish a national workforce data center, and to issue revised Laws covering labor and social insurance.
During a question-and-answer session, Prince Nayef said the saudization process is doing well in the public sector, with for example 77 percent nationals at SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corporation). He went on to say that although the overall rate was low at some private companies, such as 20 percent at Abdullatif Jameel Company, this figure is 9 percent higher than last year's. Underscoring the importance of establishing a more effective mechanism to realize the goal of full saudization, he put the blame gently on certain private companies as being rather slow in this process. He called on the private sector to assist beginners who plan to start up small-scale businesses, and urged the private sector to contribute to training programs for both males and females.
Meanwhile, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz yesterday received Education Minister Dr. Muahmmad Al-Ahmed Al-Rasheed, together with undersecretaries, education directors-general, and other officials from education bodies in the provinces, who are holding their third annual conference in Jeddah. King Fahd praised the high level of the Kingdom's educational process and expressed pride that he was Saudi Arabia's first Minister of Education. Minister Al-Rasheed then presented to King Fahd a braille copy of the Holy Qur'an, while two blind students recited some verses of the holy book.