Technology has become a core component at higher education institutions, said Higher Education Minister Khaled Al-Anqari on Tuesday during the opening address of the Fifth International Conference on Innovations in Higher Education.
The conference took place at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center.
The minister also launched the exhibition, which was attended by a record number of exhibitors.
A total of 490 local and international exhibitors from 36 countries are displaying their products and services at the weeklong show and conference.
In addition, some 52 local and 438 foreign universities and higher education institutions are taking part in the events.
“Units and programs have been created for e-learning and distance learning to accommodate thousands of students by making use of its tools and modern techniques,” he said. “This reality made it imperative for faculty members to adapt to the new climate to keep apace of modern educational techniques and enhance their abilities and skills.”
“The information available on educational multimedia might be more attractive in stimulating young minds and generating creativity compared to the traditional model of education,” he said.
Other speakers included Tan Chorh Chuan, president at the National University of Singapore, Ruairi Quinn, minister of education and skills in Ireland, and Tony Chan, minister of education at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Based on the unique success in its four annual editions, the fifth edition of exhibition is being organized as part of an ambitious plan of the government to expand and develop the higher education sector in the Kingdom by fostering and enhancing academic relations with renowned universities all over the world.
The ambitious plan put forward by the Saudi government for the support, expansion and enhancement of national education has been enforced by a steady increase in the budget of the educational sector year-on-year, bringing the Kingdom closer to successfully achieving its goal.
The ninth five-year plan includes increasing the capacity of primary, intermediate, and secondary schools to over 5.3 million students,along with increasing the capacity of universities to 1.7 million students in 2014.
A number of new facilities will be built, including 25 technology colleges, 28 technical institutes, and 50 industrial training institutes. The government will also expand and diversify the post-graduate programs offered within the Kingdom and seek to increase the number of post-graduate students to 5 percent of all university students.
The plan also encourages innovation in science and technology by providing $240 million (SR900 million) in grants for research projects each year. Other initiatives include the establishment of 10 research centers and 15 university technological innovation centers in association with the King Abdullah City for Science and Technology (KACST), in addition to at least eight technology incubators at KACST and other universities. The government will also continue to promote university collaboration with international institutions.
“Huawei supported the IECHE event today to meet with university leaders with the aim of building a smarter knowledge-based economy,” said Asfar Zaidi, principal consultant of Vertical Industry Solutions at the Huawei Enterprise, the IT sponsor of the event.
Huawei showcased its latest range of e-education technologies.
Four world class universities from the Netherlands are participating in the event, represented by 22 delegates, among which university presidents, rectors and professors, displaying their services at the show.
The universities include the University of Groningen, Maastricht University, Technical University of Twente and Wageningen University and Research Center.
Since the start of the King Abdullah Scholarship Program (KASP) in 2007, the Netherlands has received about 400 Saudi students at various degree levels, mainly in medical sciences, at the Universities of Groningen en Maastricht, but also in technical, agricultural and life science studies at the Universities of Twente and Wageningen.
Source: Arab Today