The third spring educational conference of Al- Nibras International School opened here Saturday evening under the theme "Knowledge Economy and the Quality of Education." Sponsored by Kuwaiti Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Dr. Nayef Al-Hajraf, the conference takes place at the Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST) until March 25. Addressing the opening ceremony on behalf of the minister, director of the Ministry's private education dept. Mohammad Al-Dahes commended the role of the privately run schools in the development of education. "The private schools shoulder a social responsibility, as key partners of the public schools, for contributing to the modernization of education and organizing such scientific conferences and academic symposia," he said. "The private schools accommodate up to 242,000 students who represent some 40 percent of the total number of students in Kuwait," Al-Dahes noted. There are some 73,000 Kuwaiti students in private schools including 47,000 at foreign schools, he went on. Al-Dahes noted that his ministry signed an agreement with a British corporation to assess the performance of the Kuwaiti schools with a view to providing quality education. Meanwhile, Director General of Al-Nibras International School Dr. Noura Al-Dhaheri said the conference was an endeavor that aimed introduce the concepts of knowledge economy and the quality of education. "The agenda includes three main themes, building a knowledge community based in local cultures and the recruitment of knowledge; the importance of research and development in the production and exchange of knowledge; and the role in knowledge distribution and learning via virtual education," she disclosed. "Each of those themes will be discussed by an international specialist in order to share best practices and latest research/activity in the field," she pointed out. "In our present time, disseminating knowledge is a necessity. The focus in our age of knowledge should be placed proper manipulation of the outcomes of knowledge and know-how, Al-Dhaheri added.