Saudi authorities order doubling of admission rates for in-demand university subjects

Saudi Minister of Education Dr. Hamad Al-Sheikh. (SPA)
Saudi Minister of Education Dr. Hamad Al-Sheikh. (SPA)
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Updated 18 July 2022

Saudi authorities order doubling of admission rates for in-demand university subjects

Saudi Minister of Education Dr. Hamad Al-Sheikh. (SPA)
  • The increase, which was ordered by the Council of Universities Affairs and applies to business, technology, engineering and medical faculties, is designed to meet labor-market demand
  • Meanwhile, educational institutions will be required to reduce acceptance rates for disciplines ‘not compatible with the labor market’ by at least 50 percent within five years

RIYADH: Admission rates for students in a number of faculties at Saudi universities, including engineering, technology, business and medicine, are set to double compared with 2020 levels, education authorities have announced.

The Council of Universities Affairs, chaired by Hamad Al-Sheikh, the minister of education, said on Sunday that the aim of the decision is to improve educational outcomes and help meet the needs of labor markets.

Universities will also be required to reduce the acceptance rate for disciplines “not compatible with the labor market” by at least 50 percent, the council said. The mandated increases and reductions will apply for five years, beginning with the coming academic year, and will be reassessed after three years.

HIGHLIGHT

Educational institutions will be required to reduce acceptance rates for disciplines ‘not compatible with the labor market’ by at least 50 percent within five years

These and other decisions announced by the council are designed to help prepare students for the labor market in more efficient and effective ways, and ensure that they can compete with other graduates locally and globally.

The council also told universities to gather data, to be published in a semi-annual report published on the university’s website, about employment rates among their graduates in all disciplines, the salary levels of working graduates, and whether or not their jobs are related to their field of study. This decision reflects the importance of competition between universities and their efforts to align academic programs with the requirements of local and international labor markets, according to the council.

The changes follow a broader liberalization of the Saudi higher education sector. In 2019, the Council of Ministers approved a law granting “disciplined independence” to universities, which allowed them to develop their own academic, financial and administrative regulations in accordance with state-approved public policies. These policies are implemented by the council, which is a Saudi government institution that organizes university affairs and approves education policies and strategies in the Kingdom.

The council said that the first phase of the new regulations will apply to King Saud, King Abdulaziz, and Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal universities. It added that they will allow universities to financially benefit from the development of various revenue streams, including “scientific research or consulting services for other internal or external bodies.”


Consulate-General of Japan in Jeddah organizes seminar on smart cities

Consulate-General of Japan in Jeddah organizes seminar on smart cities
Updated 12 sec ago

Consulate-General of Japan in Jeddah organizes seminar on smart cities

Consulate-General of Japan in Jeddah organizes seminar on smart cities
  • The lecture was followed by active exchange of questions and answers session between the two lecturers and audience

The Consulate-General of Japan in Jeddah, in cooperation with Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) and Japan Cooperation Center for the Middle East (JCCME), organized a seminar on smart spaces and smart cities entitled “New Vision for the Cities of Tomorrow” on Feb. 8.

The seminar held at Jeddah Chamber of Commerce was attended by Jeddah municipality officials, Saudi officials, Consul-Generals, businessmen, representatives of Saudi companies, academics, media people, university professors and interested people.

Aniket Patange, Head of Artificial Intelligence & Innovation at Hitachi, Ltd., Middle East Branch, and Ahmed Abubasha, Head of Sales & Marketing Grid Automation at Hitachi Energy Ltd respectively deliver speeches in which they explained how smart cities can enhance the safety and security, improve efficiency of municipal services and promote a better quality of life for residents in addition to its great and pivotal role to reducing gas emissions to achieve carbon neutrality through using of eco-friendly materials. The lecture was followed by active exchange of questions and answers session between the two lecturers and audience. 

Moammar Al-Atawi, Chairman of the Urban Development Council at JCCI said in his opening remark that he welcomes the audience and praised the cooperation between JCCI and the Consulate-General of Japan in Jeddah, stressing the Chamber’s keenness on permanent and continuous cooperation with the Consulate-General and JCCME. He hails Japanese experiences in smart cities technologies.

Muto Koji, Chief Representative of JCCME Saudi Arabia Office referred in his remarks to the historic relations between JCCI and JCCME since 2005, when JCCME office was established inside the Chamber. He confirmed JCCME’s readiness to provide any possible assistant to create new partnerships.

Izuru Shimmura, Consul General of Japan in Jeddah, said in his welcome remark that Jeddah is witnessing huge development movement and this seminar which comes within the framework of “Saudi-Japanese Vision 2030” represents a good opportunity for governmental officials, Saudi public and private companies, young Saudi engineers, students and other interested people to learn about the latest Japanese technologies. He also expressed his wish that seminar will contribute to building new cooperation relations between both public and private sectors of the two friendly countries and that Saudi Arabia achieve further prosperity and development under its leadership.

This article was originally published on Arab News Japan.


Saudi aid teams fly to Turkiye to take part in earthquake relief effort

Saudi aid teams fly to Turkiye to take part in earthquake relief effort
Updated 09 February 2023

Saudi aid teams fly to Turkiye to take part in earthquake relief effort

Saudi aid teams fly to Turkiye to take part in earthquake relief effort
  • KSrelief launched a fundraising campaign, which has collected close to SR80 million ($21 million) as of Thursday morning

RIYADH: Saudi teams flew out of Riyadh on Thursday morning to take part in relief efforts in Turkiye after quakes hit the country earlier this week, leaving thousands dead and others trapped under the rubble.

Specialists from King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, also known as KSrelief, departed King Khalid airport in the Saudi capital to join the international mission to provide assistance to Turkiye after Monday’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake, which struck parts of southeastern Turkiye, northwestern Syria and neighboring areas.

KSrelief also launched a fundraising campaign, which has collected close to SR80 million ($21 million) as of Thursday morning.

Saudi Red Crescent’s vice president for operational affairs Fahad Al-Hajjaj told Ekhbariya TV that the goal is to assess current needs to have a comprehensive understanding of the situation in affected areas.

He also said that the Red Crescent’s team consists of about 20 members including doctors and specialists in different crucial fields.

The air bridge consists of 4 flights, the first of which departed at 6 a.m. Saudi time. 


‘We support women’s empowerment as Vision 2030 goal,’ says US Embassy

‘We support women’s empowerment as Vision 2030 goal,’ says US Embassy
Updated 08 February 2023

‘We support women’s empowerment as Vision 2030 goal,’ says US Embassy

‘We support women’s empowerment as Vision 2030 goal,’ says US Embassy

RIYADH: The US Embassy in Riyadh welcomed US Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, commander of the US Transportation Command, as she met female members of the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces, saying that it supports women’s empowerment as a Vision 2030 goal.

Van Ovost, who is on a tour of the Kingdom, expressed her happiness at exchanging ideas and sharing experiences with Saudi Arabian Armed Forces female members.

“Ending my day energized after speaking with Saudi Armed Forces service members. We talked about one of my favorite things — mentorship. No one overcomes challenges alone. We all need someone to help us stay with it, remain confident, and provide opportunities to let us shine,” Van Ovost tweeted with photos of her meeting, which was retweeted by the US Embassy.

US Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, commander of the US Transportation Command, interacts with female members of the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces. (Supplied)

The US Embassy also tweeted: “Lt. Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost @USTRANSCOM_CDR Commander, US Logistics Command @US_TRANSCOM focuses on women’s empowerment and STEM education. The US government proudly supports women’s empowerment as a Saudi Vision 2030 goal.”

She also visited Prince Sultan Military Air Base and the Apple Developer Academy in Riyadh, which is supporting female developers and entrepreneurs in the Kingdom.

“#TogetherWeDeliver! @usairforce Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost,@USTRANSCOM_CDR, visited #TeamPSAB, where she learned more about the 378th AEW mission, our strong partnership with Saudi Arabia, and engaged with US service members who keep the mission successful,” tweeted the embassy.

In another tweet the US Embassy said: “Lt. Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost @USTRANSCOM_CDR Commander of the US Logistics Transport Command @US_TRANSCOM toured the Apple Developers Academy @ADA_TWQ during her visit to the headquarters of Princess Noura University @_PNU_KSA. The US Government proudly supports women’s empowerment.”

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, an Arab News sister publication, Van Ovost said that her first visit to Riyadh as commander of US Transportation Command focused on consolidating the strong relationship with the Saudi Ministry of Defense, in the national interest of Saudi Arabia and the US, as well as to achieve security goals.

The US Central Command is working with Saudi Arabia to establish an integrated air defense system to counter missiles and unmanned aircraft, among other technological initiatives, she said.

Van Ovost described US military relations with the Kingdom as solid, saying that the two countries fought side by side during the Gulf War in the early 1990s, and that their partnership is a cornerstone of security and stability in the Middle East.


New initiative to empower 10,000 Jeddah students

New initiative to empower 10,000 Jeddah students
Updated 08 February 2023

New initiative to empower 10,000 Jeddah students

New initiative to empower 10,000 Jeddah students

JEDDAH: Integrated solutions provider Johnson Controls Arabia has announced its participation as founding partner in Saudi Arabia’s new Future Industrialists initiative.

Implemented by the Association for Distinguished Initiatives, General Directorate of Education in Jeddah, and the Industrial Council of the Chamber of Commerce in Jeddah, the company announced that it was supporting the scheme as part of its strategic commitment toward empowering young talent in the Kingdom.

The initiative will involve more than 10,000 male and female high school students competing in three categories for awards worth SR100,000 ($26,650).

Thirty student winners will be offered summer internships at the manufacturing plants of companies taking part in the initiative — including the YORK Manufacturing Complex — and training sessions will be run for 1,000 students.

Johnson Controls Arabia provides services including heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning equipment, fire and security systems, and building management systems and controls throughout the Middle East and North Africa region.

Mohanad Al-Shaikh, chief executive officer of Johnson Controls Arabia, said: “We are proud to be the founding partners of the Future Industrialists initiative as part of our ongoing commitment and efforts toward fueling innovation and sustainability, especially in the development of talent and future leaders, in partnership with the public sector.

“As a leader in the vital industrial sector on a local and global level, we will be introducing students to the latest innovative and integrated industrial processes and mechanisms used at our YORK Manufacturing Complex, YORK’s largest manufacturing facility in the region.

“Johnson Controls Arabia continues to work toward its long-term objectives of shaping and preparing students with the needed skills and experience to excel in the competitive industrial labor market,” he added.

The Future Industrialists initiative’s creative category award will recognize students who present distinctive ideas to raise a factory’s financial or marketing productivity through the suggestions of quality products.

The discoverer category will reward students with ideas for improvement of daily operations, productivity, and quality assurance, while the ambassador class will celebrate those who develop interesting content on factory output, distinctive products, and the company’s role in servicing the community.

Targeting students at public secondary schools in Jeddah, the initiative aims to broaden young talents’ vision and knowledge through conducting field visits and training at local firms and manufacturing facilities, while educating them on the Kingdom’s industrial potential, mainly in Jeddah.

In alignment with Vision 2030 goals, the Future Industrialists initiative aims to boost the economy through motivating students to join the industrial sector in partnership with the private sector.


TONOMUS launches competition to find high-tech solutions for a billion people

TONOMUS launches competition to find high-tech solutions for a billion people
Updated 09 February 2023

TONOMUS launches competition to find high-tech solutions for a billion people

TONOMUS launches competition to find high-tech solutions for a billion people
  • NEOM subsidiary seeks proposals in energy, food, mobility
  • Aim to foster global entrepreneurship, new ways of living

RIYADH: TONOMUS, the cognitive multinational subsidiary of NEOM, has announced the launch of its second venture startup competition at LEAP23 in Riyadh.

Led by the firm’s TONOMUS Venture Studio, the competition started on Feb. 6, and is titled “The Next Billion.” It is an initiative that invites participants to consider new technologies and innovations that a billion people in the world would require for energy, food and mobility.

“We’re looking to recreate that here just like they did in Silicon Valley,” said Beverly Rider, CEO of TONOMUS Venture Studio.

The aim is to foster global entrepreneurship that will nurture the environment and create new ways of community living.

Rider added: “TONOMUS Venture Studio has a bunch of different objectives. So it’s a programmatic display of how you bring entrepreneurship and startups to our region. So what we found when we got NEOM is that one of the things we were missing was an entrepreneurial ecosystem and the small businesses that really fuel the economy, and they take the large companies and create the value around them.”

FASTFACTS

• NEOM subsidiary seeks proposals in energy, food, mobility.

• Aim to foster global entrepreneurship, new ways of living.

Rider said Saudi Arabia’s entrepreneurial vision and diversification of the economy stemming from Vision 2030 makes it an interesting hub prospect in the world.

“Come to the Kingdom? So actually, you would think that that would be the hard part, but that’s been our easy part. Everybody wants to come. The great thing about having a recession in the rest of the world is that people are really interested in looking into new horizons and new geographies. But more importantly than that, the megaprojects have given us an opportunity to basically, you know, start from the bottom and work our way up,” said Rider.

Up to 20 semifinalist teams will receive individualized coaching by experts from TONOMUS Venture Studio, and up to four winning teams will be invited to a 12-week program to incubate their ideas. The competition will welcome submissions until April 12, 2023.

Rider stressed that creating a community is key. “We asked people to come and talk to us about these solutions, their startup, or their ideas. So at about 100 people showed up yesterday. We’re going to do six more of them next year.”

TONOMUS Venture Studio comprises both established and emerging entrepreneurs. It aims to cement NEOM’s reputation as the epicenter of innovation, and the Kingdom as a place where the world’s brightest minds and top tech talent can bring their ideas to life.