Autonomy of Universities
Saudi universities have not witnessed development and modernization programs, such as those ones currently under way. The ultimate goal is to qualify them for the leading role they are required to play by enhancing the objectives of the Kingdom's Vision 2030 and taking the Kingdom to the greatest point of progress and prosperity.
The role of universities today is not as the one yesterday. They are no longer places for science and certification, but stand-alone science beacons launching development and modernization initiatives and plans for a prosperous future.
Yesterday, universities received exceptional support, with the approval of the Council of Ministers of the university system, putting them on the threshold of a new phase, entitled "the autonomy of universities", and granting them the powers and capabilities which help them contribute to the development of the country, on the basis of modern scientific research and innovation, as well as enabling universities to strengthen their excellence and quality and raise the efficiency of spending.
The experiences of advanced countries have proved the importance of the autonomy of universities in many fields, especially financial autonomy, which pushes the university to develop its financial resources thanks to its expertise, research, ideas and endowments which qualify it to utilize its potential at will, to secure the financial resources that help it continue its mission and not rely on the State in allocating annual budgets as before.
When this is achieved for Saudi universities, we have to expect from them a lot of ideas and initiatives, which establish a new life of welfare for the people of the country.
This autonomy will be disciplined and in line with the public policy approved by the State. This is assisted by the establishment of a council for university affairs, with the membership of a number of government bodies and representatives of the private sector, a matter which indicates the contribution of many bodies in the orientation of universities and their programs that elevate the State.
The new system will apply to three universities as a first stage, and will inevitably apply to the rest of the Kingdom's universities faster than we expect to achieve the Vision's entire objectives throughout the regions of the Kingdom without exception, in a deliberate scientific manner starting from the universities and put in practice.
We cannot ignore the advantages of the university system, which will allow the opening of new branches of foreign universities inside the Kingdom, and the impact on the national universities which have always needed the element of competition with other universities to develop their performance, gain scientific and research expertise, and measure the progress and development they have achieved in the fields of scientific research.