King Abdullah implemented a scholarship programme to send young Saudi nationals to Western universities (photo: dpa)

Training the professional elite - the answer to Middle East calm?

Saudi Arabia has rolled out a huge programme of spending on higher education which aims, the government says, to correct a past failure to focus on the right skills and right education. But will scholarships costing billions of US dollars have the desired effect of boosting the numbers of its professional elite and will these programmes help bind the nation together amid rumblings of discontent in the wider Middle East?

SAUDI Arabia is looking to develop the brains and skills of its own society as it pours funds into controversial education programmes.

The government hopes that public spending programmes, with huge sums earmarked ...

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Dr. Pauline Dixon
The highly interventionist nature of the Saudi economy has resulted in a large number of locals having fewer skills, more lax work ethics and, possibly, being less productive than their relatively privileged status would suggest
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