1996 News Story

Saudi minister speaks of importance of education

In a press conference in Cairo today, Saudi Minister of Education Dr. Muhammad Ahmed Al-Rasheed spoke of the tremendous development in education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia thanks to the great attention given it by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz, reporting that this year’s budget for the educational sector exceeds SR 25 billion (U.S. $ 6.6 billion), that the illiteracy rate is well below 20 percent, and that there is now a large number of graduates holding jobs in both the public and the private sectors.

Dr. Al-Rasheed praised the cooperation among Arab countries in this respect, notably through the Arab League Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ALESCO), saying:  “We always refer to the strategy set by Alesco and do our best to revise our educational plans under the umbrella of the unified Arab strategy as well as through bilateral cooperation”.

Underscoring the importance of integrating information and education, Dr. Al-Rasheed drew attention to the challenges of the 21st century, in particular the huge technological development in the field of telecommunications, and stated that the Kingdom has taken practical steps to keep up with this development, saying:   “We believe that illiteracy is no longer confined to the lack of ability to write and read, but now covers a lack of ability to become acquainted with modern technology, in particular computer technology.”   In this respect, Saudi Arabia has computerized all financial and administrative matters and plans to introduce the computer as a subject in primary schools in order to make it an educational tool for all subjects taught.