Saudi Arabia plans e-learning portal for kindergarten pupils

Time: 06 April 2021

Saudi Arabia’s new kindergarten e-learning portal will feature attractive and interesting tools that enable teachers to evaluate and enhance students’ basic skill

Abu Dhabi: Saudi Arabia will launch an e-learning portal for kindergarten pupils in the next academic year, local media reported.

Minister of Education, Dr. Hamad Al Sheikh, said the new portal would feature attractive and interesting tools that enable teachers to evaluate and enhance students’ basic skills.

The remarks were made on Monday as the minister honoured officials of the Madrasati e-learning platform, including the Public Education Agency, the E-Learning and Distance Education Department, the Digital Transformation Department, and the Cybersecurity Department, in appreciation of their efforts to render successful the distance learning process.

An online nursery, where children can learn by taking part in activities and watching videos on smartphones, has already launched in Saudi Arabia.

Children between the ages of 3 and 6 can log in to their nurseries on mobile phones and learn Islamic studies, play games, read stories and submit projects.

Through the virtual nursery, which is open to Saudi citizens and residents, children can access age-appropriate educational content similar to what is provided at schools.

“The children do not get direct support from teachers but can upload projects and work on the platform, which is assessed by a teacher.

As children cannot be exposed to smartphones for long periods of time, the application automatically shuts the child out after they have used it for an hour.

This article was first published in Gulf News

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Saudi Arabia in partnership deal with UN agency to empower children in cyberspace

Time: 18 December 2020

Keeping children safe in cyberspace is a key priority. (AFP)
  • Program’s launch reinforces crown prince’s international initiative to protect youngsters

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia on Thursday signed a cybersecurity cooperation deal with a specialist UN telecoms agency to help strengthen child online safety.
The strategic partnership agreement was inked between the Saudi National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA) and the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to coincide with the launch of a global program to create a safe and prosperous cyberspace for children.
NCA Gov. Khalid bin Abdullah Al-Sabti and ITU’s telecommunication development bureau director Doreen Bogdan-Martin penned the accord at the union’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
Delegates from both sides attended the ceremony, including the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, envoy Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Wasel, and deputy governor of the NCA for international cooperation, Majid bin Mohammed Al-Mazyed.
The program launch will reinforce Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s international initiative to protect children in the cyberworld, announced in February at the Global Cybersecurity Forum in Riyadh.
The agreement will focus on developing best practices, policies, and programs to protect children against increasing cyber threats targeting them while using the internet. It will also provide guidance on keeping children safe in cyberspace via at least 50 global training programs offered in the UN’s official languages of Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.
More than 500 open consultation sessions will be held to follow up on the implementation of the program.
Trainers around the world will be advised on how to implement guidance and develop mobile apps and entertaining educational games that would contribute
to achieving the aims of the scheme.
The program will also support countries in evaluating, developing, and improving relevant policies, launching awareness campaigns, enriching discussions on child protection in developing nations, and establishing task forces to help countries set up child protection programs.
ITU secretary-general, Houlin Zhao, praised the Kingdom’s role in supporting international activities to protect children in cyberspace.

This article was first published in Arab News

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‘Remote learning is one of the greatest opportunities’: Saudi expert

Time: 26 November 2020

Raising awareness about remote learning is important, says Abeer Hassan, an educationist

MAKKAH: Saudi society has been torn between the pros and cons of remote learning, which has laid the foundations of a new technological era.
“Remote learning is one of the greatest opportunities,” noted education expert, Abeer Hassan, the director of the innovation club at King Saud University.
“Analysis of the educational developments currently taking place around the Arab world … within the scope of remote working are the most significant evidence of (its) success, through the adoption of its models and the exchange of skills,” she added.
“Although we have been greatly successful, there are still some shortcomings such as the high financial costs, some communities not accepting this type of education, and some people refusing to replace teachers with television,” Hassan added.
“Awareness raising and highlighting the pioneering role of remote learning are of great importance. The first signs of its success are found in the continuous dynamic developments we are witnessing in the remote learning system,” she pointed out.
Nasser Bukhari, a parent, said that “remote learning burdened the families that now have to monitor their children throughout the year. Many families are now suffering due to the negative repercussions of students using tablets and mobile phones for long hours.
“This issue has affected their ability to focus,” he added, noting that “what characterized remote learning is that it helped families learn about technology and applications, shortened distances and vanquished the pandemic that took over the world.
“Remote learning helped preserve the health of Saudi Arabia’s citizens and residents. It was a courageous decision … that was lauded by all the beneficiaries, who clearly contributed to the harnessing of this technology, which might still be used even after the pandemic ends,” Bukhari added.
Waleed Shanaq, a student at Makkah’s Ali bin Abi Taleb High School, stressed that “remote learning was a wonderful idea, through which students were able to interact and complete their assignments since day one. This is a great platform that has diversified the means of learning.
“Remote learning is not a good decision when it come to all the subjects, as mathematics, physics and chemistry require an attendance in person. As for the other subjects, it would be a good idea to keep providing them remotely even after the pandemic ends,” he added.
“One of the problems facing remote learning is the indifferent students that are hard to monitor. This technology requires a quality of students who are aware of this technological and educational change, which demands an educational and moral commitment,” Shanaq said.

This article was first published in Arab News

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UNESCO praises Saudi Arabia for keeping education going during COVID-19 lockdown

Time: 08 October 2020  

UNESCO said lessons were available online within 10 hours of Saudi schools closing due to COVID-19 March. (SPA/File)
  • Report says Saudi Arabia’s transition to distance learning had been a “success story”.
  • Online lessons were available within 10 hours of schools closing

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s education ministry had been praised by UNESCO for measures it took to handle the coronavirus pandemic.

The report by the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization said Saudi Arabia had “ensured the continuation of the remote educational process and maintained the safety for more than six million students in public schools and universities.”

The report focussed on the second semester of the last school year, as lock down measures went in to full force to stop the spread of COVID-19.

It detailed how Saudi Arabia successfully implemented emergency plans from February, which were continuously updated.

Specialized committees and work teams were formed “to ensure the readiness of the education and training system to produce results that guarantee the safety of education personnel,” UNESCO said.

The report said Saudi Arabia’s transition to distance learning had been a “success story”.

Online classes were set up within 10 hours of the decision to close schools in late March and lessons were broadcast via satellite on 20 TV channels.

They were also available on YouTube where views reached more than 61 million.

In higher education, 27 public universities hosted two million virtual classes and more than six million panel discussions.

This article was first published in Arab News

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King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture launches ‘Tanween Challenges’

Time: 21 August, 2020

The program will run from Aug. 27 to Oct. 18. (Shutterstock)

DHAHRAN: The King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) launched its Tanween Challenges program on Thursday. The program, which runs from Aug. 27 to Oct. 18, will encourage participants to work with industry experts to design and develop projects and products to benefit Saudi Arabia.
The five challenges announced so far on Ithra’s website are: “Reimagining the Crafts of Saudi Arabia,” “The Future of Creative Placemaking,” “Creativity Needs You,” “Cardboard Furniture” and “A New Outdoors.” Participants will discuss ideas and existing projects in each field, and attempt to create their own product or project. Winners will have their designs featured by the relevant industry experts.

This article was first published in Arab News

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AI training program for young Saudis

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Time: 31 August, 2020

Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi. (SPA)
  • Saudi Arabia’s share of this advanced economy will be 12.4 percent by 2030

MAKKAH: Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi, president of the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority on Monday announced the launch of a training program in the field of data and artificial intelligence (AI) for 100 young men and women in the Makkah region.
He was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the 5th Makkah Cultural Forum.
Al-Ghamdi said: “We are living in the era of data economy and AI. In 2015, the global data volume was 15 zettabytes, which increased to 50 zettabytes in 2020. In 2025m it will rise to 175 zettabytes.”
He said the global economy has an opportunity to exploit this huge volume of data. According to studies, Al-Ghamdi added, the Kingdom’s share of this advanced economy will be 12.4 percent by 2030.

This article was first published in Arab News

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