RIYADH: A Saudi university paid over $2 million to an institute in Australia as bribe to improve its classification and ranking among global universities, Nazaha, the anti-corruption organization, has found.
Nazaha has told the Ministry of Education (MoE) to respond to these excessive financial expenses, which it considers act of corruption and waste of money, a source was quoted as saying by local media on Saturday.
Nazaha had previously found the university’s involvement in other inappropriate and corrupt activities, the source said. “The university is not cooperating with Nazaha by responding to what has been published in the media.”
It is noteworthy that nine Saudi universities were included in the UK’s QS World University Rankings for the year 2014-2015, with King Fahad University of Petroleum and Minerals leading among Arab universities, followed by King Saud University in the third place and King Abdulaziz University in the fifth spot.
The recent development of alleged corruption comes at a time when the MoE has been focusing on improving its social communication channels and online communication services.
The ministry’s Center for Customer Support “Tawasul” completed 30,000 requests and applications by the end of 2015. Tawasul is one of the ministry’s e-services that provides support to beneficiaries and receives complaints, comments and queries addressed to the minister and other top officials, alongside the “My Results” program for results services and “Safeer” for scholarship students.
Hamad Al-Muhaimeed, media director of the Department of Public Relations and Media at the ministry, was quoted as saying that such procedures are part of the ministry’s keenness to realize better communication measures and unify services provided to the public, as per the vision of education minister Ahmed Al-Eissa.
The new media is in line with plans to improve and establish an integrated media approach to keep pace with developments, bring the ministry closer to beneficiaries, said.
Al-Muhaimeed said the department is planning, as per the instruction and supervisor of Mohammed Al-Haizan, general supervisor of Public Relations and Media, to improve the ministry’s social networking accounts and all other digital media channels.