In recent years, Saudi Arabia has witnessed a series of developments in the fields of education, health, trade, communications, science and technology.
Launching Vision 2030 last year, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman described it as an achievable blueprint, which expresses long-term goals and reflects the country’s potentials and the projected future. It is a roadmap for economic and developmental action in the Kingdom.
Under this program, some governmental bodies and ministries underwent a restructuring process. This will enable them to perform their tasks, and expand their competencies to achieve a prosperous future and sustainable development.
Women are being given greater responsibility in society. The Shoura Council, which is a consultative body, has 30 women members out of its total membership of 150.
Recently, some female leaders were given highly responsible positions in public and private sector enterprises.
The education of women in the Kingdom has received a great deal of attention and this has allowed Saudi women to make definite strides toward achieving their ambitions in different fields.
The Saudi woman has emerged both at the local and international levels. Saudi women have excelled in the fields of culture and specialized research and their achievements have set records.
The King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) plays a predominant role in the country.
KACST is a governmental scientific institution that supports and enhances applied scientific research. It coordinates the activities of government institutions and scientific research centers in accordance with the requirements of the development of the Kingdom.
It also cooperates with the relevant authorities to identify national priorities and policies in technology and science, so as to build a scientific and technological basis that serves development in agriculture, industry, mining and more. It also aims to develop national competencies and recruit highly qualified specialists to help develop and control modern technology to serve development in the Kingdom.
Its vision is to be a world-class organization in science and technology, fostering innovation and promoting a knowledge-based society in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
For the first time in the Kingdom’s history, KACST recently produced three types of drones. The air drones, code-named Saqr 2, 3 and 4, are made of carbon and fiberglass and are characterized as light and durable to evade detection of radar and reconnaissance equipment.
The drones can be programmed from a ground-based control room. The newly created devices contain automatic control units, as well as logarithmic programs which can deal with and adapt to different wind speeds and temperatures, engine combustion, emergency landings, or climb or deviate from a flight path.
The drones will be used in cases of natural or environmental disasters, aerial photography, remote sensing and exploration, agriculture, border control and rescue operations.
In the health sector, there are more than 400 hospitals throughout the Kingdom which include some 125 private sector hospitals. Besides these hospitals, there are several medical cities and more than 2,000 primary health care centers.
During Hajj, the Ministry of Health alone deploys some 30,000 health officials to serve the millions of pilgrims who come to the two holy cities every year.
Education is a much-prioritized sector in the Kingdom. New schools are being built with state-of-the art technology to provide education to the growing population. The Education Ministry provides foreign scholarships to students who wish to pursue higher studies of their choice in major cities in the world in the UK, the US, Canada, Germany, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, France and India. There are more than 10,000 Saudi students studying abroad on government-funded scholarships.
There are some 39 universities in the Kingdom and some of them have achieved global recognition because of their state-of-the-art facilities.
The Princess Nourah University (PNU) is an example of the attention given to higher education for women. The attention started when the General Presidency for the Education of Girls established the first college for women in 1390 AH, corresponding to 1970 CE. The inauguration of more colleges followed, reaching 102, ranging from university colleges to intermediary and community colleges. These are found in 72 Saudi cities and include 600,000 students.
In Riyadh alone there are six colleges: The College of Education for Liberal Arts Disciplines; the College of Education for Scientific Disciplines; the College of Education for the Development of Teachers; the College of Social Services; the College of Home Economics; and the College of Fine Arts.
In 1427 AH, a royal order was issued for the establishment of the first university for women in Riyadh, under the supervision of the Ministry of Education. This includes the six colleges located in Riyadh, in addition to a number of new colleges established for the purpose of women’s education and development in the Kingdom.