JEDDAH, 22 April 2004 — Jeddah Governor Prince Mishaal ibn Majed laid the cornerstone of the Ibn Sina National College of Medical Sciences here on Tuesday night.
The private college is in Ghulail district next to King Abdul Aziz Hospital and is being built by Shali Al-Jedaani, general manager of the Al-Jedaani Group of Hospitals. It will be affiliated with King Saud University in Riyadh. The college will follow an advanced organ-based curriculum.
As Dr. Ahmad Muhammad Ali, president of the Islamic Development Bank, told Arab News, “The most unique thing is that it is private. It is pioneering work.” He appreciated the initiative of the Al-Jedaani Group which has two hospitals in Jeddah and two polyclinics.
“This is one of the first participations of the private sector in higher education in the Kingdom,” said Dr. Rashad Habibullah, professor of surgery, King Abdul Aziz University (KAAU). He said the college would teach medicine and pharmacy and later dentistry based on the most modern principles of teaching.
“We have chosen the organ-based integrated curriculum. This will produce a new type of graduates in medicine and pharmacy, more clinically rather than theoretically oriented,” he explained.
The full capacity of the college will be about 2,000 students in six years time. Female students will be admitted when the college moves to a new building to be completed by 2006. Until that time, an upper floor at the Al-Jedaani Hospital building in the area will be used.
Asked if there would be a hospital attached to the college, Dr. Habibullah said: “We hope that in the future we will have a hospital attached to the college. At present we have two hospitals — one is nearby with 250 beds, and the other is in the north of Jeddah with 100 beds.”
Prince Abdullah Research and Consulting Institute (PARCI), which is the consulting arm of KSU, has designed the curriculum for medicine, pharmacy and dentistry.
“Shali Al-Jedaani is seeking quality and he came to KSU because we have experience and a renowned faculty to participate in this program,” said Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Aali, dean, PARCI. There are currently about 240 universities worldwide such as Harvard and Maastricht in the Netherlands, which use organ-based learning. “On the Arab scene we have the Arabian Gulf University in Bahrain, the new college of medicine that belonged to KAAU in Madinah, and the most recent one, the university in Qasim, which was part of KSU,” he said.
Dr. Iqbal Musani, one of the executive council members, said that initially 100 students in medicine and 100 in pharmacy would be admitted in September for the first MBBS and Pharma D, a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. Both Saudis and expatriates will be admitted. The council will decide on admission policies and fees in consultation with the Ministry of Higher Education. Staff will initially be from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and India.
Dr. Musani said the college would provide a unique opportunity for expatriates to provide their children with higher education. The modern curriculum will teach courses, which are service based and more practical oriented.
“The goal of this school is not only to give numbers, but to give quality. It aspires to give the best quality teaching, and support the education and the scientific community in Saudi Arabia by focusing on physicians and pharmacists. Saudi Arabia especially needs large number of those professionals,” said Dr. Abdul Aziz A. Al-Yahya, assistant professor, department of pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, KSU.
Dr. Hisham Mortada, assistant professor, department of architecture, faculty of engineering, King Abdul Aziz University, architect of the “H” shaped building, said the shape grew out of the functional requirements.