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Saudi Education Reconsiders 'Rented Buildings' Decision - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Dammam–Education investors in Saudi Arabia requested the Ministry of Education to reconsider its decision to stop granting permits to private schools that use rented buildings.

Investors asked the ministry to grant the schools two years to adjust the situation.

Global Education Committee at the Council of Saudi Chambers sent a letter addressing the Minister of Education.

The committee suggested that competition be used as a rule to reduce inadequacy in certain schools. It added that using market strategies such as increasing the demand to push for better quality according to some criteria can eliminate the “bad product” from the market.

The letter declared that in order to overcome obstacles, the minister must issue a decision regarding the land of the educational facilities owned by the ministry or by investors. The committee stressed that the amended conditions set by the municipalities should be adopted as agreed upon by the ministry and the global committee over a year ago.

The committee also pointed out that over eight years ago, the global committee presented the council with plans and projects that aim to promote education.

Investors’ main concern was to develop the sector of education and ensure the best quality despite all challenges.

Almost two months ago, the Saudi Ministry of Education decided to suspend permits for private and foreign schools that use rented buildings which weren’t built to host educational facilities.

The ministry added that it will give those schools a two-year term to correct its situation and move to facilities built for educational purposes.

Section three of the decision also added that the Ministry of Education will facilitate the procedures for investors to obtain suitable land and government loans. Whereas clause four stated that there should be a semi-annual report about the situation of schools and the progress they have made.

The ministry claimed its decision would enhance the quality of private education and services provided to students.

It added that the educational facility, supplies, safety measures, and design play an important role in education.

Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper tried to contact the spokesperson of the Ministry of Education, Mubarak al-Osaimi, to see what the government has to say in response to investors’ fears regarding this decision.

Osaimi didn’t respond despite continuous attempts.

Investors told Asharq Al-Awsat that many of them had addressed the global committee and the minister of education asking him to reconsider his decision.

The investors believe that this decision will harm investments in the education sector and will close several schools. They added that this will also lead a large number of students to register at public schools.

Official statistics indicate there are 567,000 students in private schools with 51,515 teachers. The sector is 95% self-funded while 4% comes from government loans and 1% from commercial loans.

Statistics further show that 73% of the private schools is unincorporated enterprise, 19% limited liability, 3.1% closed shareholding, 3.1% unlimited, 1.8% partnership, and 0.4% foreign. Whereas, 73% of the buildings are rented and 27% owned.