Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education updates the school curriculum

Speaking to Asharq Al Awsat newspaper, a source in the Saudi Ministry of Education revealed that, for the first time in the history of Saudi Arabia, the educational authorities are preparing two new curricula: one for sports, and the other for the arts.

The source added that each set of courses was in the final stages of being drafted, but he did not set a date for when each curriculum will start being taught across Saudi Arabia’s schools. The Ministry of Education, the source stated, has responded to comments by a number of citizens and writing in the national press calling for an easier curriculum to be adopted.

Consequently, the authorities have recently started to re-design some textbooks and to introduce pictures and drawings that will facilitate learning and require less effort of Saudi students.

When asked to clarify which subjects were being re-designed, the source said that books for studying the Arabic language, the social sciences, Islamic studies, computer studies, and family education and home economics for girls were all being upgraded.

The Ministry of Education divided the task of updating the curriculum between four different areas, based on the availability of specialists, universities, educational experts, and academics in each region. The Ministry, the source told us, granted all its employees and all outsider experts responsible for modernizing school programs (about 50% of the total) sabbatical leave to ensure their full devotion to the overhaul.

This latest updating is inspired, the source at the Ministry of Education states, by the latest developments in Saudi society and global progress. Accordingly, the educational authorities were motivated by four major concerns. The first inspiration is that the new curriculum ought to mirror the developments of Saudi society in the cultural, economic and technical levels and everyday life.

Second, the Ministry sought to develop a curriculum that would reflect the global changes in the last two decades-the revolution in communications, globalization, the economic revolution, and the social revolution- so as to allow Saudi citizens to benefit from them without succumbing to corruption.

The third concern is based on the demands of the labor market whereby Saudis need to be gain qualifications to succeed in finding employment.

Finally, the source added, the Ministry deemed it essential to invest in education to create a generation of Saudis who will, one day, decide the future of their country.

Pakistan Will Deport al-Qaida Suspect


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan,AP-Senior al-Qaida militant Abu Faraj al-Libbi will be handed over to the United States for prosecution, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said Tuesday, ending speculation the military ruler would seek to try the Libyan-born terror suspect here for two assassination attempts.

&#34We are obviously going to deport him,&#34 Musharraf told a CNN conference in Atlanta, speaking via video hookup from Islamabad. &#34We don”t want him in Pakistan,&#34 Musharraf said of al-Libbi.

He said al-Libbi, believed to be a close confidant of Osama bin Laden and described by U.S. officials as the terror network”s No. 3 operative, did not provide any leads on bin Laden”s whereabouts during his interrogation.

&#34No, he did not provide useful information about Osama bin Laden,&#34 Musharraf said. &#34He says he is not in contact with Osama bin Laden.&#34

He added, &#34We deport al-Qaida suspects to the United States for further interrogations.&#34

It was not clear when al-Libbi would be turned over or where he is being held now.

Al-Libbi was arrested May 2 along with another foreigner after a firefight on the outskirts of Mardan, a town 30 miles north of Peshawar, capital of the deeply conservative North West Frontier Province, officials said.

Al-Libbi, who”s thought to use at least five aliases, is believed responsible for planning attacks in the United States, a U.S. counterterrorism official said after his arrest.

However, he did not appear on the FBI list of the world”s most-wanted terrorists, and his exact role in al-Qaida is not clear. It is not known what charges he might face in the United States or if he has been indicted by any U.S. court.

In Pakistan, al-Libbi was wanted for allegedly masterminding two attempts in December 2003 on Musharraf”s life. The president was unhurt, but 17 people died in the second attack, on Christmas Day.

The assassination attempts carry the death penalty in Pakistan.