By JEDDAH: P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR, ARAB NEWS STAFF
Published: Mar 13, 2012 00:24 Updated: Mar 13, 2012 00:24
There is an increasing trend among Saudis to send their children to international schools especially to learn English and excel in education, said a delegate attending a conference of the owners of international and private schools in the Kingdom in Jeddah yesterday.
Parents want to send their children abroad for higher education. So they seek for their children to have a strong educational basis, M.K. Al-Atawi, owner of Tabuk International School, told Arab News. The trend has gathered momentum after the Higher Education Ministry started sending thousands of students abroad under the King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship Program. Saudi parents are now thinking in advance and want to enroll their children in international schools to benefit from the scholarship program, Al-Atawi pointed out.
He said investors in the sector face a lot of complicated problems with regard to the appointment of foreign women teachers. We cannot recruit a woman teacher without her mehram. Now we are thinking of solving this problem by employing qualified wives of expatriate workers in the Kingdom, he said. Al-Atawi said international schools are not receiving any financial assistance from public lending organizations and hoped the government would review the policy. Most international schools are run in rented buildings as they dont have enough funds, he said.
He said owners are also facing difficult conditions set by municipalities. Accreditation is another problem facing international schools and the ministry has agreed to solve it by setting up a special committee. Al-Atawis wife Maha Mukhaimer is attending the conference as director of the Tabuk school. Haya bint Abdul Aziz Al-Awad, deputy minister for girls education, opened the conference by saying the Education Ministry would encourage investors in the private and international education sector as part of its efforts to improve the quality of education. She added as much as 90 percent of students in some international schools are Saudi.