RIYADH: ALI FAYYAZ
Published — Tuesday 16 April 2013
Last update 16 April 2013 4:20 am
Saudi Arabia is hosting 486 exhibitors, 432 international universities and 63 local and higher education institutions from 39 countries at the 4th International Exhibition and Conference on Higher Education (IECHE) 2013 today at International Exhibition and Convention Center (RIECC).
During the four-day event, the conference will attract more than 300,000 students and parents from the Kingdom and neighboring countries. Senior officials from the Kingdom’s Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), elite speakers and experts in higher education all over the world will also participate in the IECHE 2013.
“The international exhibition will open new horizons in many areas as it represents a link between the various local and international educational institutions as well as being a channel for sharing experiences, experiments, and research findings,” according to the IECHE.
It will also provide an environment for scientific cooperation between international and Saudi higher education institutions in the public and private sectors.
The overall exhibition area stretches over 15,000 square meters with 1,500 parking lots for cars and buses. Apart from the main exhibition area, the center also includes miscellaneous services, offices, and a food court.
IECHE’s vision is to encourage participation, enhancing collaboration among Saudi and international universities, higher education institutions, and educational organizations as well as developing mutual understanding about issues that govern and influence the quality of higher education worldwide.
The IECHE hopes to provide great opportunity to the community with its various institutions, categories and individuals, particularly those interested in out-of-the-country scholarship programs, to become aware of international higher education institutions, including review of their respective educational and academic systems and procedures and interact with them.
Moreover, IECHE encourages higher education institutions in the Kingdom to upgrade academic and professional capabilities to reach the levels enjoyed by their well-established counterparts. It also provides access of local universities and faculty staff to international expertise and resources.
International universities from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Netherland, New Zealand, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Portugal, Russia, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE and USA are participating in the exhibition.
The conference on higher education will begin with the keynote addresses of Oh Yeon-Cheon, president of Seoul National University in South Korea and Muhammad Hamad Al-Mady, president of SABIC in Saudi Arabia.
The international conference is based on five sessions which includes community and civic engagement, talk show including social values, sustainability, institutional policy and practice, innovation with social impact.
IECHE will arrange 75 workshops on filmmaking and photography techniques, challenges facing academic libraries in the 21st century, care of talent in universities, applying for research degrees, writing and reading, the benefit of private education, exchange program for Saudi nationals, adaptable skills of university students and many more presented by leading experts from the Kingdom and abroad.
A number of special workshops on different models in e-learning and distance education, women’s sections in Saudi universities, how to choose specialty university, undergraduate program and graduate fellowship and medical and health programs in the United States, and preparation tips for language and distinguished university selection.
The keynote speakers of the conference are Ian Young, vice chancellor of Australian National University; Goolam Mohamedbhai, former secretary general of African Association of Universities; Eric Mazur, area dean of applied physics at Harvard University; Saleem Badat, vice chancellor at Rhodes University in South Korea; Lisa Anderson, president of American University in Cairo, Yunus Soylet, rector of Istanbul University; Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahbudin, vice chancellor at National University of Malaysia; and Rob Hollister, director at Tallories Network.
Also participating are Martin Paul, president of Maastricht University, Netherlands; Maria Nieves Tapia, academic director at Latin American Center for Service Learning; Rajesh Tandon, president of Society for Participatory Research; Antonio J. Dieck Assad, president of Universidad de Monterrer, Mexico; Dzulkfli Abdul Razak, vice chancellor of Albukhary International University, Malaysia; Joseph A. Alutto, executive vice president of Ohio State University, USA; Lorraine Macllrath, coordinator of Community Knowledge Initiative at University of Ireland; Adil Najam, vice chancellor at University of Management Sciences, Pakistan; Sally Susnowitz, assistant dean at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA; Budd Hall, director of community based research at university of Victoria, Canada and Yves Flueckiger, vice rector at University of Geneva, Switzerland.
The Saudi government has a sincere objective for the education of its youth and the King Abdullah Scholarship Program (KASP) indicates the high attention toward education sector. The program, which has been renewed for its second five-year period, helps to build a society in which knowledge and information are the principal motors for economic growth.
Through KASP, there are currently over 125,000 Saudi students pursuing higher education in top universities all over the world. It is estimated that the total amount allocated for these scholarships by the end of the current fiscal year will reach approximately $ 5 billion.
IECHE provides the opportunity of signing agreements between Saudi universities and their foreign counterparts. The second edition has witnessed the signing of 21 agreements for academic collaboration with 20 international universities while the third edition has witnessed the signing of 14 agreements with 12 international universities. This reflects the significance of the event, type of participants and opportunities available to achieve desired gains in international higher education.