Saudi Arabia to become ‘global player in education sector’

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Time: March 05, 2019  

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Organizers hope the exhibition will provide the springboard for helping the Kingdom become a leading world player in the sector. (AN photo)
  • Major exhibition aims to make Kingdom global player in education sector

JEDDAH: A major initiative aimed at propelling Saudi Arabia to the top of the class for education provision has been launched in the Kingdom.
The two-day Global Educational Exhibition of Development and Support (GEDS), which kicked off on Monday at the Hilton Hotel in Jeddah, is the first event of its kind to be staged in the country.
And organizers hope the exhibition will provide the springboard for helping the Kingdom become a leading world player in the sector.
British, American, Lebanese and Emirati education specialists were among experts taking part in GEDS, which aims to throw the spotlight on the latest learning products, technologies and innovations in a bid to transform Saudi society.
With education a key plank of the Saudi National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020, the GEDS event played host to a range of education suppliers and service providers with a view to promoting investment opportunities in the Kingdom’s education sector.
GEDS’ executive manager, Eman Khankan, told Arab News that the exhibition presented an inspiring mix of content for teachers, students and businesspeople.
She said the event had attracted worldwide interest, with teaching experts volunteering to run workshops and give presentations as part of ambitious efforts to modernize the Saudi education system.
CEO at publishing firm World Book Company (WBCO), Dr. Ahmad Al-Kubaisi, said that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s focus on driving the sector forward via the country’s Vision 2030 reform plan was adding great value.
“The crown prince’s special care for education is giving a strong push to the educational sector, and this fills us with hope of becoming a global leader in the sector. The determined move has started, and a thousand miles begins with a step,” Al-Kubaisi told Arab News.
Medeni Menekse, sales director at McGraw-Hill Education, emphasized the need to modernize the public- and private-sector education systems by using the latest technologies such as digital learning, interactive communication, and virtual reality to hone student skills.
Zulfiqar Ali Mian, sales and marketing director at WBCO, said: “Saudi Arabia has the largest generation of young people. Investment today in the education sector, training and skills development, will be transformational for young people over the coming years and will contribute to achieving the national educational goals of Vision 2030.
“Increasing investment in young people is key to transforming any country in the world,” he added.
As well as workshops, more than 150 companies exhibited the latest innovations in education at the GEDS gathering.
Among these was “Administrative Development in Education in light of the requirements of the Saudi Vision 2030,” with researcher Moodhi Al-Hilfi delivering a presentation on possible solutions to dealing with a national deficit of teachers and stressing the important role of human resources.
She recommended separating non-educational services from school administration and introducing electronic management systems.
In January 2019, Saudi Education Minister Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh stressed the importance of studying the current status of education and overcoming the challenges facing its development.
He gave education leaders 100 working days to come up with a practical plan to move the sector forward.
Recently, Saudi Arabia and China agreed to include the Chinese language in the curriculum at all stages of education in schools and universities across the Kingdom. This came during the crown prince’s visit to China.

This article was first published in Arab News

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