On the occasion of the order of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of extending to five years the period for the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques program for external scholarship.
The past five years of the program have witnessed an expansion of quantitative and qualitative aspects unprecedented for decades in the kingdom educational history. There is a considerable progress in terms of numbers of students and hosting educational institutions at several countries. At aforementioned institutions students are enrolled at wide number of academic disciplines that meet the needs of the local labor market and national development plans.
Ministry of Higher Education has accompanied efforts by establishment of an agency for scholarship affairs. Ministry also increased the number of Saudi cultural mission abroad from 24 in 1426 to 32 cultural missions supported by qualified employees to aid and assist students pursuing their careers.
King Abdullah Scholarship Program has allowed more than 70,000 students to study and acquire the knowledge and skills and to be cultural envoys between Saudi Arabia and other civilizations through more than 25 countries in the world including United States, Britain, Australia and Canada, where program yielded in many qualities of student education that are apparent including :
1. The enrollment of scholarship students in disciplines that are goes in line with labor market needs and adaptive with development plans that paved way for creation of new economic cities and expansion of financial and economic activities, thus students might choose finance or economics as a major in the program. And taking note of a labor gap as reported by Ministry of Labor in engineering, medical, communication and ICT professions currently carried out by non-Saudis, KASP targeted to bridge this gap by preparing national cadres. Universities, particularly the emerging ones, are prospecting to benefit from KASP graduated students as faculty members.
2. King Abdullah scholarship program has shown the bright and leading role of the Kingdom in the world through the Saudi students clubs at their universities and the efforts to highlight their country's role and civilization whether by organizing National Day conventions at host countries or through other events such as exhibitions and conferences. Several conferences were held by Saudi students at U.S.A., U.K., Canada, Australia and many other parts of the world along with their colleagues.
3. King Abdullah Scholarship Program have produced notable cooperation between the ministry and several foreign embassies in the kingdom, where a number of meetings taken place with ambassadors and consulates. The purpose of these meetings is to discuss scholarship students' situation and to prepare for closer cultural relations with various countries.
4. King Abdullah scholarship program have enabled and fortified students to acquire several skills and personal traits such as being more responsible and confidence, coping with different cultures and being versed in multiple languages.
5. King Abdullah scholarship program have shown the seriousness and the vividness of Saudi students, student failure and drop-out rates are considerably low and did not exceed 3% of the total number of students on scholarships.
6. Scholarship program have availed opportunity for Saudi woman to continue her education in order to live up and raise her family and society as a whole and be an active constituent in her community.
7. King Abdullah scholarship program worked hard to achieve balance of opportunity among applicants coming from several regions of the country, and especially from considerably-remote areas in order to make comprehensive development a reality.
8. Saudi Arabia has earned through King Abdullah scholarship program a leading position amongst countries in the global student mobility as demonstrated by 2009 ed. of UNESCO student mobility report. The publication reports number of scholarship students around the world, where china is leading by 421,000 students abroad, followed by India of 153,300 students and South Korea 105,300 students, and Saudi Arabia, where the number of scholarship students on this year is more than 70,000, ahead of Japan and the United States. Saudi Arabia is also the first country when abroad-students rate to whole population is taken into account; the proportion of abroad-students to the population is 0.03%.
9. A good number of pioneers among scholarship students have obtained many academic awards, patents and certificates of academic excellence. Many of those are representatives at student councils at their universities in addition to their active participating in local activities.
His Excellency Deputy for Scholarship Affairs have taken the occasion to express gratitude and appreciation to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and to HRH Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, and HRH Second Deputy Premier Prince Nayif Bin Abdul Aziz for the continued support to scholarship students. He also thanks HE Minister of Higher Education Dr. Khalid Al Anqari for his continued support for scholarship affairs agency and all scholarship programs, and thanks to HE the Deputy Minister of Higher Education Dr. Ali Al Atiyyah, for his ongoing support to the students, and surmounting all the obstacles facing the continuation of the program.