The Ministry of Education is making intense preparations to award contracts worth billions of riyals to construct 871 new school buildings in various parts of the Kingdom, a ministry official said. This is in addition to 2,340 school projects under construction at a total cost of SR 21 billion, said Fahd Al-Hammad, supervisor of the agency for school buildings.
He emphasized the ministry's strategy to reduce the number of rented school buildings.
The new projects are expected to increase the share of school buildings owned by the government to 85 percent, the Al-Yaum daily quoted the official as saying.
He said the ministry was also completing procedures for the appointment of 5,307 new teachers during the 2012-2013 academic year.
"We have instructed education departments across the country to complete procedures for the appointment of new teachers," he was quoted as saying in the report.
Saudi Arabia gives top priority to education and training of its citizens and spends billions of riyals for the purpose every year.
The Kingdom's 2011 budget allocated 46 percent of total spending to education and training, health and social development, and infrastructure, with 25.9 percent of the entire budget designated for education and training alone.
During 2011, the government appropriated $40 billion (SR150 billion) to education and training.
Investment in human capital has become a top priority for the government, as spending on education has more than tripled since 2000.
The budget includes plans to build 610 new schools in addition to the 3,200 already under construction.
The Kingdom completed the construction of 600 schools in 2010.