Future of Universities in Saudi Arabia
All indications show that the universities in the Kingdom are entering a new era and a phase that is different than the previous one, whether in terms of their mechanism of work, or the general objectives, which they seek to achieve on the ground, to keep up with the goals of Vision 2030. This vision sensed the importance of the pivotal role which should be played by the public and private universities in order to promote the society and improve the living standards of its members.
Everyone knows that the Saudi universities, during the past decades, have undergone many transformations leading them to centralization, monotony and weak institutional organization, and thus weak output, and the lack of their demand in the labor market. This made the universities suffer from being siloed to themselves, within a sterile bureaucratic circle which undermined their start and ability to carry out all the tasks entrusted to them. Still, with the declaration of the Vision, everything belongs to universities, such as regulations, laws, goals and aspirations, are re-formulated to reach the ideal form of universities that support the homeland with graduates who are qualified scientifically, culturally and psychologically to carry out the tasks needed from them.
The reformulation started from the Shura Council which has set 14 tasks to be undertaken by the Council of Universities Affairs, including the adoption of policies, strategies and general directions related to university education, the proposal of the policy of funding universities and its rules, and the establishment of general rules for financial, administrative and academic regulations, in addition to the general rules for the payroll of its employees, including the presidents, and the establishment of general rules regulating the budget approval.
What is also striking is the keenness to promote the principle of "governance" in universities, through the provisions of Article XIII, which recommended that the Council of Universities Affairs, in cooperation with the board of trustees of the national university, the national and foreign universities, shall take on the governance of the university, ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the quality of its outputs according to clear performance measurement indicators, approve the annual budget of the university, in a manner that does not contradict the general rules approved by its affairs council, and approve the unchanged rules regulating fixed, movable and cognitive assets and the controls of utilizing them and spending from their returns, including lands, enterprises and various facilities of the university, as well as the approval of all the regulations of the university, including financial, administrative and academic regulations.
The most important thing in this article is the work on the establishment of rules to encourage and support scientific research, and promote innovation and technology transfer, especially if we know that in the next stage, the labor market will focus on the category of creative and innovative graduates, but the traditional ones will not have a tangible role in the development of the Kingdom.