no its not a medicine, and its not an acronym for a new drug, its the international exhibition and conference in higher education, that is held in Riyadh for the third year. I am lucky to be able to witness it, and to tour the facility. of course the place is full of all these universities that came from around the world, as well as the Saudi government and private universities.

The most interesting thing that I heard is that the ministry of higher education had paid the top 100 universities to attend, the total cost of the stand, the tickets, hotel and other expenses was all taken care of by the Saudi authorities, of course this is done for the love of education. In actual fact the amount of money this country spends on education is phenomenal, and of course its correct to mention that its the only country in the gulf that has over 18 million Saudi people and all of them can go to study abroad if they want to! yes this is true, the scholarship programme is open to anyone who would like to study provided that he or she has a letter of acceptance from the university, and provided that he or she are able to study. The encouragement is great, and the offices that the government had opened around the world is also worth noting. people do complain and of course everyone has the right to do this, as the sheer volume of applicants makes any organization overwhelmed, let alone the various programmes of study, the various universities, the countries and everything else that is impacted when a student decides to study in a place rather than the other. The government wants to ensure that everyone has an equal right, and that everyone comes back with a degree from an approved university and be ready to give back and make the necessary changes that are required of him or her to the country to help build a giant in the gulf. Women are given a double opportunity of course as they can take a father, brother or a husband with them and those too will be given the opportunity to study. Hats off to the government and its leadership, education is the main ingredient for change, and if its done properly, then change is immanent.

I didn’t bother to visit the foreign universities, as I know them all. However I visited most of the Saudi universities and talked with them about the importance of articulation and twining with foreign universities, as that gives a boost to the university and compels it to be on the forefront, also being articulated provides opportunities to the students to be in exchange programmes as well as study abroad, which means that even though they are studying in their home country they are still exposed to foreign studies and will come back and compare and contrast. The importance of studying abroad is not to be taken lightly, however studying at home and being able to go abroad in a foreign country is the least one can do to have a taster.

Next week is Oman fair, so I will let you know how that goes.