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King Saud University Rector Abdullah Al-Othman met with a large number of Preparatory Year (PY) Program students this week at Hamad Al-Jasser Hall to stress the need for them to develop their skills and perspective through various extracurricular activities. He urged the students to strive to improve their English language proficiency and computer skills, noting that the university has provided 2000 training opportunities leading to International Computer Certificates.

“The University is working to establish a stimulating and creative university environment,” Dr. Al-Othman said. “This cannot be achieved without student aptitude for creativity and excellence.” He indicated that the PY program is aimed at building and improving the students’ skills and decreasing attrition rates, which have not exceeded 15% since the implementation of the first-year program.

He also noted that as women are increasingly taking part in building the national economy, the university is treating  job opportunities for female students as a matter of necessity. To this effect, the university appointed 350 teaching assistants last year and will continue to cultivate job opportunities, especially for the top 10% of distinguished graduates. Stressing the university’s ambitious plans for developing human resources, Dr. Al-Othman pointed out that the university will help these graduates find jobs and will provide them with scholarships to pursue graduate and PhD degrees abroad.

Asked through closed circuit TV about housing for female students, Dr. Al-Othman indicated that it is a major concern for the University's administration. He said that the Housing Department is working to find suitable solutions for housing problems that face KSU students, and will make dormitories a comfortable home for students, balance between rights and duties. The Rector pointed out that the Administration will not prevent any student from attending a conference or a training course, but at the same time, there have to be strict laws and regulations to observe. Dr. Al-Othman added that the University has earmarked SR 90 million for complete overhauling of the female student centre at Oleisha and Malaz, and this is a short-term project. The University, however, will earmark SR 2,900 million for building a new female student housing complex at Al-Deriyah, and this will be a truly pioneering city.

Answering another question concerning unjustifiable treatment of some administrative bodies and the closed door-policy of some deans and professors, Dr. Al-Othman said that the student-teacher relation should be that of paternal nature. He said the teacher should sympathize with the student, and a confident teacher will never slam his door shut in the face of his students; on the contrary, he should try to communicate with them, otherwise he will lose this generation.

Dr. Al-Othman drew attention to the importance of the recently established Students Consultation Council and stressed the importance of listening to the students who enjoy a pivotal position in the educational process. He emphasized the necessity of their participation in making decisions that affect them and the university implementation thereof. The Council will also explain to the students the rationale of measures taken by the administration but not fully understood by the students. During the conference, the Rector honored KSU freshman Oweidha Abdurrahman Al-Rab’i (19), holder of the KACST patent, for his multi-purpose, anti theft mobile and aid for the blind. The student received a gold medal and a SR 20,000 reward. The Rector also honored Assil Abdurrahman Al-Wabel, a senior student at the Physics Department, College of Science, for her anti theft A&J invention. A similar reward was handed to her father on her behalf.

Finally, the Rector stressed the necessity of extracurricular activities and said that students must not shun away from them. He indicated that the university has set aside SR 50,000 in financial support for each of the students’ clubs.