The Saudi capital, Riyadh , has recently witnessed the launch of al Faisal University, a new university offering a modern model of higher education, in partnership with the Saudi private sector and in collaboration with some of the most distinguished universities worldwide.
This important step is part of a plan to reform the educational sector in Saudi Arabia , which has been criticized for its poor curricula and its disregard for the needs of the labor market and the Kingdom’s general needs. However, most importantly, this new project is part of a wider plan to “Bring a smile to Saudis’ faces”, according to Prince Khaled al Faisal. He was commenting on the state of fear and intimidation, in the name of religion, that has frightened Saudi society and removed smiles from people’s faces.
This project comes at a pivotal time and many await its success because there is a pressing need for it and others like it. This sort of projects fills a major gap in the education sector and provides a healthy atmosphere for learning and education, unlike most Saudi universities whose teachings are criticized. Education is nowadays the most important challenge facing a country where 60% of the population is below the age of 20.
Accordingly, education institutions should be concerned with providing a balanced education and one that can be used across different fields of work, without complications. There is a rising demand to build universities and educational institutes across Saudi Arabia, in order to maximize opportunities for the entire population. Nevertheless, we still face the biggest and greatest challenge of all: the rise in the quality of Saudi universities and not just their numbers. This focus on the quality of education should not take place at the expense of the information offered, or the teaching staff or the sources of education themselves. In the past, the issue of education was connected to etiquette and we continue to pay the price for this. The plan to restore smiles to Saudis’ faces requires whitening our teeth but also removing a few molars!