The world has changed, but the university has not kept up. The pace of change
continues to accelerate and unless the university can become more agile and
adapt more quickly, it will become increasingly alienated from the society it
is meant to serve.
The university has multiple functions in contemporary society. As in the past,
the university must prepare graduates for the first stage of their career or
for the possibility of further study and research. Beyond that, the university
must provide today’s students with the skills and abilities that they will need
to adapt to future changes in the social, political and economic environments.
We must keep in mind that jobs no longer last a lifetime, that technology
and globalization are changing the nature of the workplace and that basic
skills such as general knowledge, patterns of leadership, and communication
are all of central importance. Considering how unpredictable the future has
become—these are significant challenges. Postsecondary education plays
a key role in preparing the professionals of tomorrow who can adapt to
continuous and revolutionary changes—and universities play a significant role
in the intellectual and economic life of all societies.
To keep pace with change, the Saudi leadership has outlined challenges and
goals for the nation in Vision 2030 that require an active role for higher
education. Vision 2030 recognizes the critical importance of cultivating a new
generation of highly-trained human resources with a range of skills to promote
a diversified and innovative economy. Dramatic progress has already been
achieved in increasing participation in higher education generally, but with a
particularly impressive increase in the participation of women. New bylaws
contemplate more autonomy for Saudi universities making international
engagement and benchmarking against current trends and best practices
more important than ever.
“The International Exhibition & Conference on Higher Education”