Council slashing Saudi university red tape in bold reforms

RIYADH: The Saudi Council of Universities Affairs will cut red tape and increase organizational agility in universities through a range of reforms to improve performance.

The council, headed by Minister of Education Dr. Hamad Al-Sheikh, reduced the number of agencies in major Saudi universities to four, while in “emerging” universities, it cut the number to three.

The four must be allocated to scientific colleges, health colleges, theoretical colleges, and a center in the field of university interests and orientations, with faculty members appointed only to the presidency of those centers. No deputies, assistants, or advisers can be appointed from the faculty.

Deanships of Community Service will also be merged with Applied College units on the main campuses of Saudi universities.

Community service units will also be attached to university agencies.

The council also requires universities to convert all supporting deanships of an operational nature into departments (with the exception of Deanships of Admission and Registration, Student Affairs, Development and Quality). This is in addition to a maximum of two other deanships selected by the council, “according to the university’s needs and directions.”

Dr. Khalid Al Akwa’a, chairman of the board of the Saudi Society for Quality in the Makkah Region, told Arab News that the “mechanism for improving the structure of academic institutions issued by the council ensures the optimization of university costs, time and effort.

“These resolutions enable quicker access and ensure that universities keep up with the scientific changes as well as developments, and also improve the quality of education.”

Al Akwa’a, a European Foundation for Quality Management assessor, said that bureaucracy in university administrations, as well as the overlap and repetition of tasks, can hinder the performance of tertiary institutions.

He added that lengthy procedures affected the development of educational services, and that the council’s measures will take steps to boost efficiency.

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