KSA to witness pivotal progress in e-learning

Updated 08 February 2013
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KSA to witness pivotal progress in e-learning

Abdullah Al-Migrin director of the National Center for E-learning and Distance Learning (NCEL) said Saudi Arabia will witness substantial progress in e-learning during the next five years.
Al-Migrin, who was speaking on the sidelines of the third conference on e-learning in Riyadh, said the event aims to encourage the exchange of ideas and strategies regarding the implementation of technology for education purposes. 
According to Al-Migrin, the first two conferences were successful in highlighting the importance of e-learning, while this conference focused on the implementation of technology in higher education institutions. 
He said the conference focused mainly on the challenges facing the region and its communities, notably in issues related to e-learning and integrating technology within educational systems.
Nations do not only depend on economic growth to realize progress, they also require scientific and academic advancement in order to achieve real development, said the director of NCEL. He also stressed that greater care must be given to human resources development, as human capital is the basis for future progress. 
Elaborating on the issue, he said the rapid developments in technology have facilitated the exchange of information and nations must capitalize on this great phenomenon to revolutionize education and learning. 
Al-Migrin called on universities in the region to embark on implementing technology and distance-learning systems to empower their students to learn and acquire knowledge, as well to get exposure from the world. He also urged universities to reconsider their regulations in issuing degrees as many counterfeit and forged certificates have been awarded, some of which belong to developed countries. 
Commenting about Saudi universities, the NCEL chief said some of the Kingdom’s universities have a distinguished position in the world of technology and e-learning.
Despite their conditions, countries of the region are steadily progressing, notably Saudi Arabia and the GCC countries. At the Kingdom’s level, the next five years are expected to witness an expansion of e-learning due to the existence of good infrastructure, high-caliber educational supervision, transfer to automation, and acquisition of knowledge and technical developments, the NCEL chief pointed out.


Saudi Arabia pushes back launch of ‘entertainment city’

Updated 44 min 37 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia pushes back launch of ‘entertainment city’

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday said it has delayed by three days the launch of an “entertainment city” near Riyadh, part of a series of multi-billion dollar projects as the oil-reliant Kingdom seeks to diversify.
King Salman had been scheduled on Wednesday to launch construction of the 334-square kilometer project in Qiddiya, southwest of Riyadh, touted as the Kingdom’s answer to Disneyland.
“King Salman will inaugurate next Saturday the Qiddiya project, which is the new entertainment, sports and cultural destination in the Kingdom,” the state-run Saudi Press Agency said, without explaining the delay.
Construction for the first phase of development, which would include high-end theme parks, motor sport facilities and a safari area, is expected to be completed in 2022, officials say.
The facility highlights a “relentless effort to develop giga-projects that will help achieve many direct and indirect economic returns,” project official Fahd bin Abdullah Tounsi was quoted as saying in a government statement on Monday.
Qiddiya chief executive Michael Reininger has said the project in the entertainment-starved Kingdom is expected to draw foreign investment, but gave no figures.
Saudi Arabia has dazzled investors with plans for three hi-tech “giga projects,” funded in part by its sovereign wealth fund, but skeptics question their viability.
Aside from Qiddiya, the Kingdom has unveiled blueprints to build NEOM, a mega project billed as a regional Silicon Valley, in addition to the Red Sea project, a reef-fringed resort destination — both worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Such projects are the brainchild of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, architect of a sweeping reform program dubbed “Vision 2030.”
The reforms stem partly from a motive to boost domestic spending on entertainment as the Kingdom has been reeling from an oil slump since 2014.
Saudis currently splurge billions of dollars annually to see films and visit amusement parks in neighboring tourist hubs like Dubai and Bahrain.
In February, Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority said it would stage more than 5,000 festivals and concerts in 2018, double the number of last year, and pump $64 billion in the sector in the coming decade.