Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- Saudi Arabian Education Minister Dr. Abdullah al Obeid has affirmed that there is no hidden agenda in the kingdom’s educational curriculum, as some have maintained. He also confirmed that all textbooks taught in Saudi Arabia are expected to be uploaded and available on the ministry’s website soon. This move aims at making the educational curriculums accessible to all students, teachers and researchers.
Following the launch of the Saudi Ministry of Education’s web portal last Sunday, November 4 in Riyadh, Dr. al Obeid stated that all critics who had been spreading misleading lies about the Saudi curriculum will be able to visit the website for themselves to find out the truth. Moreover, he stressed that public education in Saudi Arabia has no hidden agenda and entails no secret curriculums.
The Minister of Education stated that, “The ministry’s web portal is not limited to serving students and teachers alone; rather, its services are offered to researchers worldwide. Any individual who is concerned or specialized in this field can access this portal and contribute information that could help advance the field of education. Any skeptics will have their doubts dispelled after viewing on the website. There are no motives aside from teaching every subject. It is not required of teachers or students to go beyond the curriculums, except in accordance with educational regulations.”
Dr. al Obeid also elaborated to say that the Saudi educational curriculums are distributed in CD-ROM form as well, and added that the future obligates the ministry to utilize knowledge and scientific knowledge to achieve the state’s educational objectives, in compliance with the Saudi monarch King Abdullah’s vision. The king is dedicated to advancing the pace of scientific progress in the kingdom, achieving sustainable development and a knowledge-based economy, he said.
Sustainable development, explained al Obeid, depends on continuous new developments in all the sciences and fields, and rearing tomorrow’s children to nurture modern concepts, values, skills and techniques. As such, the Ministry of Education is deemed the first incubator to breed that technological culture and disseminate it through media and digital channels, such as the ministry’s website.
The minister pointed out that the success of new projects depends on encouragement and motivation. He pointed out that his ministry will accomplish that through stressing the importance of modern technology and its uses amongst students and teachers.
Al Obeid emphasized that culture and awareness cannot come about and be reinforced without the will and intent of the party seeking to learn. He noted that the educational curriculum for females will soon be available on the website, after which the curriculum for male students will follow shortly.
For his part, Undersecretary of the Educational Development department of the ministry, Dr. Naif al Roumi made a press statement in which he said that the ministry has equipped the schools for the new electronic curriculums. He pointed out that all schools currently include learning centers and state-of-the-art computer laboratories. Al Roumi also revealed that the ministry will be holding a large-scale forum in which many officials in the education sector will be in attendance.
Dr. al Roumi also revealed that the forthcoming academic year will witness the launch and distribution of the interactive educational CD-ROMs for the use of students and teachers. However, the ministry has already begun to distribute the CD-ROMs to the female-only schools and will be distributing them among the male-only schools next week.
The underlying objective behind the use of these CD-ROMs is to instruct students and teachers on the forthcoming phase, which integrates technology and education. The estimated cost of one CD-ROM is 67 Halalas [100 Halalas is the equivalent of one Saudi Riyal (SAR)].
Electronic textbooks will enable Saudi students to have a digital version of the curriculum, something which they may access in computer laboratories on the school premises and in their homes. Students may read, browse, research, and copy and paste material into different applications. The CD-ROMs also come with supporting software and programs that have been developed by the ministry and other educational institutions in collaboration with the Arab Education Office for the Gulf States, which has added greater educational value to the concept. Moreover, the design and graphics are compelling, attractive and user friendly.
The projects duration, four months, saw the production of 227 books and 38 educational programs. The estimated cost of the production of the aforementioned CR-ROMs (all stages from manufacturing to distribution) is 3,350,000 SAR [approximately US $896,828].
All textbooks may be viewed and downloaded directly through the Saudi Ministry of Education’s website within the coming few weeks.