Dr. Khalid bin Mohammad Al-Manzalawi, Saudi diplomat

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: The Saudi education system is to be realigned away from academic study and toward meeting the demands of the modern jobs market, the education minister has pledged.

Hamad Al-Asheikh said community colleges would be converted to provide vocational training linked to the requirements of employers, and the number of admissions to purely theoretical higher education courses would be cut.

“We are exploring the professions and sub-specialties that the job market is heading to, in order to develop curricula and educational fields in our universities to meet the specific needs of the market,” he said.

Education Minister Hamad Al-Asheikh

“The ministry supports professional diplomas in universities to achieve efficient spending in the admission process, respond to the needs of the labor market, and reduce acceptance in theoretical specialties.

“For example, if the labor market has a certain profession that does not require studying for four years, and qualifying for it requires a one-year or two-year program, why should I burden the student and the community with the costs of four years?”

The minister was speaking at the University of Tabuk, where he inaugurated a clinical simulation unit for medical training and specialized skills, and an industrial innovation and robotics center.

Al-Asheikh said the innovation center, close to the NEOM giga-propject, would support development projects in the region. He noted the importance of partnerships with the private sector, especially in product innovation and diversification, to support the Kingdom’s economy.

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