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DELOITTE: PRIVATE SECTOR INVESTMENTS IN SAUDI ARABIA EDUCATION SECTOR IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Greater private sector engagement in education reform in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is expected in coming years as the country proceeds with its Vision 2030 and National Transformation Program (NTP), which set out ambitious targets for economic development and greater fiscal balance. Reform of the education sector is integral to Vision 2030 as a means to improve employment opportunities for young Saudis, and the Saudi government has allotted an additional budget that is recognized in the Vision 2030 budgets in order to support the reform process. As a strategic partner for the “Investment & Finance in Educational Buildings” Conference in Riyadh, Deloitte shared its wide-ranging regional and global experience on public-private sector initiatives and education reform during the two-day conference. The event, organized by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Education and the Tatweer Building Company, took place on January 10 and 11, and was attended by high-ranking public sector officials and private sector businesses.

During the conference, Deloitte facilitated an interactive workshop attended by senior government and education leaders to explore the role of the private sector in developing Saudi education while providing an overview of regional and international experience and insights.

“Greater participation of the private sector in education is a valuable opportunity to relieve the government of a significant portion of its funding burden while bringing in expertise that can improve efficiency, standards, and much more,” said Gavin Quantock, Director, Financial Advisory, Deloitte United Kingdom, who spoke at the event. “This expertise can be applied across the education spectrum in areas as diverse as public policy engagement, infrastructure and facility management, administration, and education development and delivery.

“The Deloitte workshop looked at the potential scope of the private sector within the education value chain in Saudi Arabia and how it can further support the progress of the NTP and Vision 2030, as well as the practical issues in managing private sector engagement and how engagement might be managed effectively and efficiently,” commented Khaled M. Al-Sagga, Partner, Consulting, Deloitte, Saudi Arabia. “Based on Deloitte’s global experience, there is no one-size-fit-all solution model that can be followed in KSA for the participation of the private sector in education. Hence, we need to develop such models with local content and the Saudi culture into consideration.”

“There is a wide range of types of private sector engagement in education taking place in the region and around the world. In the workshop we looked at how some of these might apply to the Kingdom, and the advantages and disadvantage of each,” commented David Brazier, director, Financial Advisory, Deloitte in the Middle East. “Successful public-private partnership (PPP) models bring wide-ranging benefits including the ability to incorporate quality criteria into contracts and effectively measure performance.” He added: “The coming months and years offer sizeable opportunities for the private and public sectors to engage in joint initiatives that would transform the education sector and better prepare the Kingdom’s youth for the future.”