Saudi Arabia to Create its First International University Due to Expat Demand

by Ray Clancy on April 22, 2015

An international university is to open in Saudi Arabia with the aim of attracting expats and helping those already living there to stay instead of leaving for higher education.

The new university will offer degrees in subjects such as engineering and business management with medical courses being offered in years to come. It will also seek partnerships with other universities in countries such as the US, the UK and Australia.

SaudiArabiaThe joint venture between Gammon Saudi Arabia and the Bangalore-based Bapuji Institute of Science and Technology will require an initial investment of SR1 billion and it will be based in Jeddah.

It is estimated that there are more than 10 million foreign workers and their families in the Kingdom and according to Sheikh Rafik Mohammed, chairman of Gammon Group, at least 300,000 expat children leave every year for higher education.

Prince Faisal bin Saud, head of the group, has wanted to strengthen the Kingdom’s higher education sector by bringing reputable international universities and institutes to the country with the support of the Saudi leadership and Education Ministry.

The university will have 13 colleges in the initial stage offering courses in B.Com, BBM, MBA, civil, mechanical, electrical, electronic, automobile, and communication engineering, information technology and architecture. Medical courses will be provided at a later stage.

The new university will target Saudis as well as children of expat workers including Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Filipinos, Egyptians, Yemenis and Sudanese in addition to GCC citizens. Classes will be taught in English.

‘This is going to be a 100% successful project because there is need for higher education facilities for foreign students in the Kingdom. The Saudi government intends to provide the best education and training to its citizens and has sent more than 200,000 Saudis on foreign scholarships to study at reputable international universities,’ Mohammed said.

‘Our intention is to bring those famous international campuses to the Kingdom so that Saudis as well as expatriates could receive world-class education inside the Kingdom,’ he explained.

Admission will be provided through online application, after verifying certificates and conducting entrance exams. The new also intends to establish cooperation with US, Canadian, European and Australian universities.

Mohammed said the university project would boost foreign investment as it would encourage more foreign investors and skilled workers to come to the Kingdom.

‘There is a good market for education and health in the Kingdom. After Class XII, expat students are forced to leave the Kingdom due to lack of higher education facilities. This is a big problem facing expats. Many of them do not like to send their daughters away for education,’ Mohammed pointed out.


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