Making education an enjoyable experience

Updated 29 June 2014
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Making education an enjoyable experience

Faiza Abdul Qayyum, a Ph.D. holder in innovative education, has come up with an innovative activity-based learning program that could turn education into edutainment for students by making it an enjoyable experience with none of the boredom attached.
Originally from India, Faiza in Saudi Arabia has a master’s degree and also a doctorate in education from Washington International University, Pa, told Arab News that games with an element of humor provide relief, thereby creating an environment conducive to the learning process.
“With a balanced classroom approach, built on the potential of all students and based on Multiple Intelligences Theory and their learning styles, an adept teacher can make learning a great experience,” she said.
According to her, the core objective of teaching is transmitting knowledge or wisdom to students. “Saudi Arabia is an economically rich country with very little growth in human resource. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, has taken the initiative to improve this reserve and develop it as an asset,” she observed.
The Indian educator said, “Theoretically, it is the 21st century, but our schools here in Saudi Arabia adhere to a pattern of education that is rooted in the 19th & 20th centuries. Our first and most important challenge is to reinvent schools for the 21st century — retrospection about current educational practices is essential for our students to be noteworthy, intelligent contributors in a rapidly transforming world.”
“Making such an ideal move is not going to be easy and it is not enough to say that we are already living there,” she pointed out.
“We need to demonstrate how an innovative learning environment in classrooms, supported by powerful new technologies could revolutionize the art of learning. I believe that the Kingdom has great potential to develop and improve its education system to such international levels that it can be applied to globally accepted curricula.”
She explained that Saudi and expat students have the potential to aspire to these global criterions. “We need to develop an interactive curriculum at upper primary and secondary and high school levels and guide students to apply their knowledge in daily life enriching their life experiences.”
Faiza continued: “I believe that theoretical knowledge is important for use when required whereas practical knowledge is hands-on and can be used in modern everyday life.
The responsibility of imparting education lies with all; if the four-school community groups work together towards the subordinate goals of providing lasting education for future productive global citizens then the Saudi school scenario would become very distinctly dynamic!"
She said that concerted efforts must be made by the society as a whole to motivate the youth to pave the way for a productive future through their seemingly superfluous gadgets and needless online activities. If teachers and schools can provide online learning activities: homework, projects, quizzes or even blogs on their school websites, this would give constructive direction to their online adventures.
With the advent of the web and of mobile/cell phone technologies, approaches to learning have changed drastically, but methods of assessment have not, Faiza noted. "Students are encouraged to collaborate, share knowledge and investigate but, rather than assessing these skills, most institutions still focus on what students memorize for traditional exams."
By giving teachers and students the peace of mind and necessary training-teacher assistants, and resources the school can support in providing effective lessons, she concluded.


India and Saudi Arabia take bilateral relationship to new heights

Updated 21 February 2019
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India and Saudi Arabia take bilateral relationship to new heights

  • Indian PM Narendra Modi heralds Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit on a day that delivers a strategic partnership

NEW DELHI: India and Saudi Arabia have taken their bilateral relationship to new heights with a decision to set up a Strategic Partnership Council and hold a summit meeting every two years.

The move was agreed during discussions between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Wednesday that yielded five memorandums of understanding in investment, tourism, housing, and information and broadcasting. 

The Saudi crown prince also announced a $100 billion investment in India in areas including energy, refining, petrochemicals, infrastructure, agriculture and manufacturing. 

Saudi Arabia is also investing in the IT industry, and India can help the Kingdom expand and strengthen its “IT footprint,” he said.

Meanwhile, New Delhi announced e-visa facilities for Saudi citizens to promote trade and tourism. 

The two leaders spoke one-on-one before the start of delegation-level talks. The Saudi crown prince’s visit has “given a new momentum to our age-old relationship,” Modi said in a joint press conference after the meeting.

Modi told the media that Saudi Arabia has agreed to become part of the International Solar Alliance, a group of “solar resource-rich countries” initiated by India to promote solar energy.

The “time has come to convert our energy relationship into a strategic partnership,” he said. “The biggest refinery in the world and Saudi participation in India’s strategic petroleum reserve elevate our relationship from a mere buyer-and-seller relationship.”

Speaking at the joint press conference, the Saudi crown prince agreed. “We are now diversifying our interests in petrochemicals and building storage capacities. We want to cooperate with India, and this will give a new momentum to our relationship,” he said.

The crown prince said that the tie between India and Saudi Arabia goes back in history and “flows in our blood.”

Recalling the visit of Modi to Riyadh in 2016, he said that “since then we have made great strides, and Saudi Arabia has made the investment of $44 million.”

Earlier in the day, the crown prince met with the media at the presidential palace. “The relationship between India and Saudi Arabia is in our DNA,” he explained. “Today, we want to be sure that the relationship is maintained and improved for the sake of both countries, and with the leadership of Mr. President and the Prime Minister, we can create good things for both countries.”

The crown prince expressed his admiration for Modi. “He is the elder brother and I am his younger brother.”

On the sidelines of yesterday’s talks, 400 business leaders from India and Saudi Arabia gathered in the capital under the banner of the Saudi India Forum to discuss opportunities for business cooperation.

“India and Saudi Arabia are undergoing a paradigm shift, and both countries need to cooperate strategically to realize the potential of the change,” said Dr. Faisal Al-Sugair, head of the Saudi Center for International Strategic Partnerships, in his inaugural address. 

“We want Indian companies to become strategic partners in Saudi Arabia’s march to realize (the) 2030 Vision.”

Yousef Al-Benyan, of the Saudi petrochemical company Sabic, said that “both India and Saudi Arabia are undergoing transformation, and at this stage we can do so many things together to realize the potential of the young generation.”

Azim Premji, of the Indian IT company Wipro, underlined the importance of “using India’s IT know-how” to access the knowledge and service industry in the country.

Indian foreign policy experts see the crown prince’s tour as a landmark development. “Mohammed bin Salman’s visit marks a paradigm shift in the relationship between New Delhi and Riyadh,” said Dr. Zakir Hussain, a New Delhi-based foreign policy expert. 

“The visit reveals  a mature partnership, and underscores the importance both countries place on each other’s growth and prosperity,” he said.