Education fair to play key role among professionals.

A major international education fair opened its doors for visitors here yesterday after it was officially opened by Prince Faisal bin Abdullah, the minister of education.

The show officially titled as the “International Exhibition and Forum for Education (IEFE)” will be a key platform for educational professionals for networking, while it also features the latest educational products and services offered by more than 22 countries under one roof.

The opening ceremony was attended by a large number of high-ranking officials and diplomats from 22 countries, including Saudi Arabia and Finland. Prominent among those present during the opening ceremony included Faisal bin Muammar, secretary general of King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue, Finland’s State Secretary Tapio Kosunen, Finnish Ambassador Jarno Syrjala and Dr. Azzam bin Mohamed Al-Dakhil, managing director of Saudi Research & Marketing Group.

Asked about the details of the forum, Mohammed Al-Dukhainy, a spokesman of the Ministry of Education, said that about 100 papers will be presented at the education forum including exhibitors’ lectures and training workshops conducted by experts from various countries.

“This event demonstrates the great importance the Saudi government attaches to education … to develop education sector, encourage investments and strengthen the infrastructure to promote education,” Al-Dukhainy said.

He pointed out that the biggest proportion of the budget’s spending of the Saudi government goes toward education, with the allocation gaining 21 percent to SR 204 billion. This includes SR 3.9 billion to build 539 new schools in the country, which is the most populous in the Gulf region. A large number of exhibitors representing 22 countries including the Kingdom are participating in the exhibition as well as in the forum.

“Presence of all these countries on the fair ground is a clear evidence of their urge to progress and exchange experiences with Saudi Arabia,” said the spokesman. He said that the IEFE will also forge links with senior representatives from colleges, training institutions, secondary education institutions, public and private schools of the region and the world at large.

“It is the official annual event of the Saudi Ministry of Education with over 40,000 visitors turning up at the event last year,” he added.

The IEFE organizers also announced that an event focusing on sports in education and social media is scheduled on Thursday. “We are delighted to announce a raft of confirmed top-level speakers from Real Madrid Foundation (Spain), KickWorldwide (UK), Zarcony (KSA) and Altynordu Football Investments (Turkey),” said one organizer.

Asked about the topics to be discussed at the forum, another official pointed out that a large number of subjects like investments opportunities in the Saudi education market, IT solutions, building equipment for education solutions, education quality assistance systems and educational performance will be taken up for discussions during the next four days of the forum.

Predicting thousands of visitors including senior representatives and teachers from schools, colleges and universities to the IEFE, he said the focus of this international education event will be on promoting excellence, achieving quality, performance improvement and deploying innovative solutions in Saudi Arabia. The event will conclude Friday.

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