Saudi university ranks fourth on international list of educational establishments

Time: 04 June, 2020

The achievement is something the Kingdom can be proud of said Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman. (AFP)
  • King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals rates highly based on number of utilities patents granted to it in the United States
  • University received 225 patents, topped only by the University of California, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Texas

DHAHRAN: Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals has been ranked fourth on a global list of 100 universities granted utility patents in the United States in 2019.
The annual list is compiled by the American organizations the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association. KFUPM was granted 225 patents last year according to the list, which was topped by the University of California (631), followed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (355) and the University of Texas (276).
Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, the Saudi minister of energy and chairman of KFUPM’s board of trustees, said the achievement reflects the university’s strategic methodology in the fields of research and innovation, and is something the Kingdom can be proud of.
He also thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their great support for education.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Education Ministry takes on distance learning of 6 million students in 10 days

28/03/20

Thirty-seven million students have tuned in to view Ein’s content on the internet, excluding those watching on TV. (SPA)

  • Saudi ministry has revealed that a new platform is being planned to support teachers and students interested in volunteering with health and logistics bodies to help battle the pandemic

JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Education has been working relentlessly to ensure students have access to their education as the world battles the coronavirus pandemic.
Ibtisam Al-Shehri, the ministry’s spokesperson, said: “In 10 days, the ministry implemented distance learning to 6 million students. Students were offered five options by the ministry for virtual learning, accessible at any time and place.”
She added: “The ministry even made these educational tools available to those without internet access on TV through Ein channels.”
The students can gain access to their classes through 20 Ein channels on TV, Ein’s Youtube channel, Ein educational portal, future gate and unified education database. Thirty-seven million students have tuned in to view Ein’s content on the internet, excluding those watching on TV.
Al-Shehri said that students’ finals will be held as scheduled before coronavirus on Ramadan 10, but they are prepared for other emergencies with solutions such as virtual examinations in accordance with the educational calendar, virtual examinations for any given time as the current situation advances, virtual examinations for select grade levels and in-person examination for others.

FASTFACT

The students can gain access to their classes through 20 Ein channels on TV, Ein’s Youtube channel, Ein educational portal, future gate and unified education database. Thirty-seven million students have tuned in to view Ein’s content on the internet, excluding those watching on TV.

The ministry has also revealed that a new platform is being planned to support teachers and students interested in volunteering with health and logistics bodies to help battle the pandemic.
Meanwhile, King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) has launched an initiative to provide computers for students who do not have access to online distance learning.
KAU president, Abdulrahman bin Obaid Al-Youbi, said that more than 1,000 students had applied, and the first batch of devices had been distributed. Those wishing to apply should go to https://marz.kau.edu.sa/ShowSurveyLogin.aspx?SID=175235.

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Education experts predict improvement in English-language skills in Saudi Arabia

07/02/20

Participants gather for the inauguration of Education First’s new head office and EF English Center in Riyadh on Feb. 6, 2020. (AN photo by Fahad Al-Zahrani)

RIYADH: Levels of proficiency in the English language are expected to increase in Saudi Arabia in the coming years, according to Education First. The global education company compiles the EF English Proficiency Index, on which the Kingdom currently ranks 98th out of 100 countries.

“I’m very confident that English proficiency in the Kingdom will rise every year,” said John Bernström, EF’s general manager in Saudi Arabia, at the inauguration of the company’s new head office and EF English Center in Riyadh.

He sees a strong focus on English education from the government and the Ministry of Education, and in universities and high schools, along with a strong desire to improve personal English-language skills, particularly among young people.

“I believe there is a big willingness to learn (English),” he said, adding that the majority of students who enroll with EF are between the ages of 18 and 25.

“We see interest from both genders; slightly more from men but there is still a very nice interest from women too,” said Bernström. More women are traveling abroad to learn English and, he said, “we are very proud that we are able to provide that in a safe and culturally appropriate environment.”

EF plans to expand its presence in other cities across the Kingdom and the new head office is “the first step toward that goal,” added Bernström,

Helen Indelicato, director of English training at the EF English Center, said: “The new EF English Center in Riyadh will provide students with an opportunity to improve their professional skills, through which they will contribute to the modernization and diversification of the Saudi economy.

“We will bring high-quality English-language training to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to provide its global workforce with opportunities to engage with international companies, visitors, training solutions, and myriad other opportunities.”

The center will cater to students age 13 and over with a range of courses covering beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. It will also offer exam-preparation programs for standardized global tests. The teaching staff is entirely comprised of teachers from English-speaking countries.

“Our brand new local school is the stepping stone to the English journey, where our students will be able to grasp the foundations of the language and immerse into different cultures, while still being in the Kingdom,” said Indelicato. “At any point, students can transfer seamlessly to one of our 40 destinations around the world and fully live the language and the culture while maximizing their experience abroad.”

EF’s activities focus on language, academic, cultural-exchange and educational-travel programs. It held the eighth edition of its EF English Proficiency Index Conference in the Kingdom in 2018.

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Princess Nourah University launches its 2020 sports gate

Time: 30 January, 2020 

The department offers diverse sporting activities such as basketball, football, volleyball, and others.
  • The sports gate aims to increase the number of sports practitioners at the university

RIYADH: The vice-rector of Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University (PNU) for Academic Support and Student Affairs, Dr. Amal Al-Habdan, launched the Nourah Sports Gate 2020 on Tuesday.

Organized by the sports affairs department, the official announcement was made in the presence of a number of college deans, heads of departments, administrative and educational staff at the university, female students and a number of external parties such as the Saudi Badminton Federation and the Saudi Arabian Judo Federation.

The sports gate aims to increase the number of sports practitioners at the university, by offering a number of fitness programs (PNU FIT) and sports.

The event involves a number of sports activities, including a 5 kilometer run for all university employees.

The department also offers diverse sporting activities such as basketball, football, volleyball, and others, in addition to athletics areas that include high and long jumping, shot putting, sprinting and group fitness exercises.

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Misk Academy launches interactive platform in Saudi Arabia

Time: 29 January, 2020 

Misk Academy has worked since its inception to launch a number of educational and development programs in the Kingdom. (SPA)
  • Misk Academy has worked since its inception to launch a number of educational and development programs in technical skills

RIYADH: The Misk Academy, part of the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation (Misk), launched on Monday the Misk Academy Forum “1 Hour Panel Talk,” a regular monthly interactive discussion platform, featuring a group of experts and specialists on various topics including technology, leadership and digital media.

The platform aims to transfer expertise and raise awareness of digital media fields, and to provide young people interested in the world of media with the information they need to develop the future of the sector in the Kingdom.
The first panel discussion that took place at Prince Sultan University, under the theme “The Future of Animation in Saudi Arabia”, hosted the CEO of Manga Production Company, Essam Bukhari, filmmaker and director Ayman Jamal, whose film “Bilal” topped the list of the top 10 animated films of 2018, the designer, creative director and animation producer Malik Nejer, owner of the “Masameer” (Nails) series, and Umar Ben Dahloos, the noted painter and artistic director of Ubrand.

FASTFACT

In the presence of more than 100 young filmmakers and media professionals, the panel discussion assessed local experiences compared to global ones, presenting the challenges facing animators in the Kingdom.

In the presence of more than 100 young filmmakers and media professionals, the panel discussion assessed local experiences compared to global ones, presenting the challenges facing animators in the Kingdom.
Misk Academy has worked since its inception to launch a number of educational and development programs in technical skills, financial technology programs and creative digital media, with the aim of training and qualifying young Saudis to become the country’s next generation of entrepreneurs, developers, creatives and engineers.
To date, its programs have taught more than 9,000 people in more than 30 cities and provinces in the Kingdom, with a career development success rate of 80 percent.

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Students begin studying Chinese in public schools in Saudi Arabia

19/01/20

The Chinese economy has witnessed rapid growth in recent years, transforming the country into a global leader in technology and manufacturing. (Reuters)
  • The inclusion of the Chinese language will enhance the cultural diversity of students in Saudi Arabia, and contribute to the achievement of the goals in education for Vision 2030

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education has begun teaching Chinese at eight public secondary schools, as the first stage of the ministry’s plan to include it in public education.
According to the ministry’s spokesperson, Ibtisam Al-Shehri, four schools in Riyadh, two in Jeddah, and two in the eastern province, including two girls’ schools, would participate.
Al-Shehri also noted that studying Chinese would be optional for students, not compulsory.
The Chinese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chen Weiqing thanked Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Twitter for including Chinese in the country’s educational system.
“I hope that the emerging generation in the Kingdom will master the Chinese language, love Chinese culture, and embrace an honorable future for the two friendly countries,” he said.
Chinese was first introduced to Saudi schools during the crown prince’s visit to Beijing in February 2019, as part of an agreement between the two countries to strengthen bilateral friendship and cooperation.
Several initiatives were launched with different organizations in the education and training sectors to introduce the language to the public.
One of the biggest initiatives was in collaboration with the Arab Open University and Nabegh Educational Center to teach more than 3,500 teachers and employees in the education sector in 12 cities around the country.
Abdulrazaq Othman Abdullah, 38, is a graduate from China, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in administration and financial management. He and his wife taught Chinese to Saudi teachers in Madinah.
“The most important outcome from this project is to help the teachers overcome psychological barriers while studying a foreign language, and eliminate the assumptions associated with the Chinese language,” Abdullah told Arab News.

I hope that the emerging generation in the Kingdom will master the Chinese language, love Chinese culture, and embrace an honorable future for the two friendly countries.

Chen Weiqing, Chinese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

“It is very important that teaching Chinese begins from secondary school, it will broaden the students’ horizons and introduce them to a new culture and a new world that they would not know of without the language.”
Knowledge of the Chinese language will create a new field of opportunities for Saudis, be it in tourism, technology, commerce, investment, science, medicine, diplomacy, or education and academia.
The introduction of Chinese into the curriculum is a step toward opening new academic horizons for students of various educational levels in the Kingdom. Saudi universities are gradually including Chinese in their educational plans and academic activities.

FASTFACT

An agreement to teach Chinese in Saudi schools was reached during the crown prince’s visit to Beijing in February 2019.

“I have to admit that I was worried at the beginning, especially that I was teaching adults with years of experience in education,” Abdullah said.
“However, by the end of the experience I was very satisfied with the outcome. We as a population have a sense of curiosity, we like to seize opportunities and we are welcoming of everything new and willing to learn.”
From his experience as a student in China, Abdullah said that there were obvious cultural similarities between the two countries and that both societies were welcoming of each other.
During the crown prince’s visit to Beijing, Chinese leaders agreed to help facilitate Chinese language learning through its the country’s Confucius Institute, which promotes language learning and cultural exchange around the world.
China is home to almost a fifth of the world’s population, and has been growing significantly in the past four decades at an average of nearly 10 percent a year, transforming the country into a global leader in technology and manufacturing.
The inclusion of the Chinese language will enhance the cultural diversity of students in the Kingdom, and contribute to the achievement of the goals in education for Vision 2030.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Investment deals worth SR2.9bn signed for Saudi education sector

Time: 17 January, 2020 

Saudi investment chiefs have joined forces with a leading schools’ operator in the Kingdom to help promote investment opportunities in the education system. (SPA)
  • SAGIA signed a cooperation agreement with Al-Motaqadimah Schools
  • SR193 billion was allocated to education in the 2020 Saudi national budget

RIYADH: Saudi investment chiefs have joined forces with a leading schools’ operator in the Kingdom to help promote investment opportunities in the education system.
The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) signed a cooperation agreement with Al-Motaqadimah Schools Co. (MSC) to develop and market opportunities for investment and work to activate them in cooperation with relevant authorities.
MSC penned investment and cooperation deals in the education sector worth SR2.9 billion ($772 million) through the “Invest in Saudi Arabia” platform.
They included a cooperation agreement with real estate developer Tatweer Buildings Co. (TBC) to construct, operate and maintain 58 educational complexes over three academic years in the Kingdom, with a capacity of 70,000 students, which would contribute to creating 5,000 jobs.
It also signed an accord with Asma Capital to establish an investment company, a cooperation agreement with Adem Capital to issue initial instruments worth SR1 billion for the Kingdom’s first services company, and a cooperation deal with Google for Education to support the Internet giant’s expansion plans in the Saudi market.
The signing of the agreements came during a ceremony organized by SAGIA at its headquarters in Riyadh, and attended by SAGIA Gov. Ibrahim Al-Omar, representatives of the companies investing in the education sector and a number of officials from relevant government bodies.
SAGIA works to invest in the education system in cooperation and integration with other relevant organizations to promote private-sector investment in the growing field of education.
According to SAGIA statistics, the total number of licenses issued in the education sector in 2019 was 100 percent more than the previous year.
SR193 billion was allocated to education in the 2020 Saudi national budget.

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Jobs market ‘will drive Saudi education,’ says education minister

23/12/19

  • Community colleges to be converted to provide vocational training on in-demand jobs

RIYADH: The Saudi education system is to be realigned away from academic study and toward meeting the demands of the modern jobs market, the education minister has pledged.

Hamad Al-Asheikh said community colleges would be converted to provide vocational training linked to the requirements of employers, and the number of admissions to purely theoretical higher education courses would be cut.

“We are exploring the professions and sub-specialties that the job market is heading to, in order to develop curricula and educational fields in our universities to meet the specific needs of the market,” he said.

Education Minister Hamad Al-Asheikh

“The ministry supports professional diplomas in universities to achieve efficient spending in the admission process, respond to the needs of the labor market, and reduce acceptance in theoretical specialties.

“For example, if the labor market has a certain profession that does not require studying for four years, and qualifying for it requires a one-year or two-year program, why should I burden the student and the community with the costs of four years?”

The minister was speaking at the University of Tabuk, where he inaugurated a clinical simulation unit for medical training and specialized skills, and an industrial innovation and robotics center.

Al-Asheikh said the innovation center, close to the NEOM giga-propject, would support development projects in the region. He noted the importance of partnerships with the private sector, especially in product innovation and diversification, to support the Kingdom’s economy.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Women teach young boys for the first time in Saudi public schools

02/09/19

Early childhood is the most important stage in building a child’s personality, says Suaad Al-Mansour
JEDDAH: Female teachers will educate boys in 1,460 state-run schools across the Kingdom for the first time.

“With this project, the Ministry of Education aims to improve the efficiency of the educational system and ensure that every child has access to quality education around the Kingdom,” Suaad Al-Mansour, assistant director general of education in Jeddah, told Arab News.

Al-Mansour Said The Early Childhood Schools Project Included Kindergartens For Boys And Girls Between Aged 4-5 Years-Old And The First Three Primary Grades For Students Between 6-8 Years.

She Said There Will Be No Mixed Classes In Primary Grades. “There Are Separate Classrooms, Toilets, And Other Facilities For The Young Boys And Girls.”

IN NUMBERS
1,460 – Early Education Schools

3,313 – Classrooms for 83,000 kindergarten students

3,483 – Classrooms for 81,000 early childhood education students

13.5% of young male students will be taught by women

Besides improving the quality of education, the ministry aims to increase space utilization efficiency and take full advantage of public school buildings.

According to the ministry, women will teach 13.5 percent of young boys, saving $533 million from the education budget in space alone.

Moreover, the ministry also aspires to increase children’s enrollment in public kindergarten schools versus private schools by 21 percent this year.

During the summer vacation, the ministry set up 3,313 kindergarten classes to accommodate 83,000 children.

Al-Mansour noted that early childhood is the most important stage in building a child’s personality, and said a female teacher is more approachable and less intimidating for young boys at that stage.

Arab News

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“This project will bridge the gap young boys used to face after moving from kindergarten to primary school. The classes at early childhood schools are specially designed to fit their needs at this age, and being taught by women will give them a more fruitful learning experience.”

Many private schools around the Kingdom assigned primary teaching to female teachers decades ago. The General Department of Education in Jeddah Region has held workshops with leaders in the private sector to share their experience with public institutions.

For the first time, female teachers are teaching young boys in 1,460 government schools across the Kingdom. Women will teach 13.5 percent of young male pupils, saving SR2 billion from the education budget in space alone

Arab News visited the 177th Primary School in Jeddah and met with the staff and young pupils.

Principal Rajhah Al-Jihani told Arab News that she was impressed with the community’s awareness of the importance of the Early Childhood Project.

FASTFACT

“In our school, we have a total of 6 classes for young boys, two classes for each grade. The ministry has given us 200 seats, and 180 seats are already occupied. It expresses the community’s welcoming of the project.”

Al-Jihani explained that the school organized a training course for teachers on early childhood teaching, including teaching techniques and upbringing strategies, as well as an introduction on the project and its goals.

Maryam Al-Zahrani, an early childhood teacher at the school with 22 years of experience, said that the first day is crucial, and that it was “necessary for the student to feel that the woman in front of him is more like their mother” than just a teacher.

“I nominated myself as soon as the project was announced,” she said. “I am happy with this experience.”

About 6 million students across the 13 administrative regions of the Kingdom returned to school on Sunday after almost four months of summer vacation.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Misk Academy launches 14 programs to train young Saudis

02/09/19

Over 1,900 people ready to develop skills in digital world
RIYADH: The Misk Academy, part of the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation (Misk), has launched the third round of the Misk Udacity Program, in partnership with Udacity which aims to develop and build skills in the digital world.

Over 6,000 people have applied to the program, with 1,966 accepted to 14 online programs in programming, data, digital marketing and artificial intelligence.

In addition to the online course, students based in Riyadh and Makkah will attend a weekly session with their trainer, with seminars also being held at other locations across the country, in other areas, in order to initiate debates about the subjects and review contents and ideas raised.

The Misk Udacity Program is considered a proactive step to develop technological pioneers’ skills in the Kingdom.

HIGHLIGHTS
• The Misk Udacity Program is considered a proactive step to develop technological pioneers’ skills in the Kingdom.

• It aims to build and raise the knowledge and technical skills of Saudi job seekers, and also aims to develop their employability in the data and technology sector.

It aims to build and raise the knowledge and technical skills of Saudi job seekers, and also aims to develop their employability in the data and technology sector.

The program reflects Misk’s academic methodology which aims to present a comprehensive educational system that starts with training and ends with empowering graduates to become successful in the job market and compete at an international levels; 65 percent of graduates achieve progress in their career six months after the end of the program.

Misk is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and providing opportunities for the Kingdom’s youth and leading them to a bright future through Vision 2030 in transforming and diversifying the Saudi economy.

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