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Saudi Minister of Education: We are Not Considering Canceling Free University Education

Saudi Minister of Education: We are Not Considering Canceling Free University Education

Wednesday, 22 January, 2020 - 11:15
Saudi Minister of Education, Hamad Al al-Sheikh. (SPA)
Riyadh - Asharq Al-Awsat

The Saudi Ministry of Education is not canceling free university education or reducing students’ financial rewards, stressed Minister of Education, Hamad Al al-Sheikh.

He noted that the reform within the Ministry will affect the structures, administrative systems and curricula, as well as governance of administrative processes in schools, education departments, and offices.

Sheikh lauded the support of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, pointing out that this reflects the leadership’s great expectations from this sector.

Speaking during a televised interview, Sheikh noted that the Ministry is primarily responsible for education policies, reform and development.

The sector includes 7 million students enrolled in higher and university education, and 170,000 in technical and vocational training. One million employees work in the sector, stated the minister.

The development of curricula is one of the most important priorities in order to meet national needs and prepare the coming generation for the demands of the future, he continued.

Sheikh explained that the ministry needs two years to develop the curricula and achieve real results among students.

The first stage of curriculum development has been successful, he revealed, saying the second stage will focus on promoting tolerance and introducing digital education.

Sheikh also discussed the possibility of switching to a system of three semesters, rather than two.

He explained that studies show that a trimester system increases the number of actual teaching days and improves the performance of the internal and external education system.

Sheikh stressed that preparing qualified teachers who are passionate about their work is another of the Ministry's priorities, pledging to launch the teacher preparation program next year.

The minister stressed that society is a key partner in the Ministry’s decisions, indicating that students are the focus of the educational process, and every effort that does not improve the level of knowledge, skill and education has no value.

Sheikh said the Ministry also focuses on developing secondary schools in line with the global change in the philosophy, mission, and goals of secondary education.

He acknowledged a “persistent strategic mistake” whereby 100 percent of high school students prepare for university and 80 percent of them pursue theoretical and literary majors, which does not meet the demands of the labor market.

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