Facebook, Twitter classes for new school students

Updated 10 July 2014
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Facebook, Twitter classes for new school students

The Ministry of Education plans to include classes on using social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook at schools starting with the new academic year, local media reported.
The textbook for the first year secondary students, entitled “Computers and Information Technology,” would contain information on using, designing and managing websites and social networks, the report said.
The curriculum for the four quarters of the year would include new textbooks on family and health education for girls. There would also be search and information sources, skills training and social and national studies for boys and girls.
Hamad Al-Asheikh, deputy minister of education for boys, said the number of textbooks for first year secondary students would be reduced from 21 to 14.
For the second and third years at secondary level, the number of textbooks would drop from 18 and 21 respectively to 12.
Al-Asheikh said the project would be implemented gradually over two years. He said the minister approved the new academic curriculum and allocated a budget for implementation.
In the first phase, the new curriculum would be implemented only in major cities. The courses would include science, mathematics, computers and software programming, he said.
Al-Asheikh, who was quoted as speaking at a press conference, said the ministry held 80 workshops to educate teachers on the new curriculum. It also informed students about the new system last year by distributing pamphlets.
He said the new textbooks would improve the skills of students and promote the values of faith and patriotism. It would ensure the integration of Arabic language and social studies.
“It will develop the students’ general skills and prepare them for the job market and life,” he said.
Al-Asheikh said the ministry is working to restore the teaching profession to its former prestigious place in society, but urged the public to help with this task. "The whole process includes society, the family, the ministry and teachers. It is an integrated system."
The minister said that the current assessment of teachers by headmasters was potentially unfair because of the possibility of personal judgments being included.


Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer

Updated 17 April 2018
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Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer

  • Previous research has shown a new blood test has potential to detect eight different kinds of tumors before they spread
  • The research starts in April and will run until September

TOKYO: A Japanese firm is poised to carry out what it hailed as the world’s first experiment to test for cancer using urine samples, which would greatly facilitate screening for the deadly disease.
Engineering and IT conglomerate Hitachi developed the basic technology to detect breast or colon cancer from urine samples two years ago.
It will now begin testing the method using some 250 urine samples, to see if samples at room temperature are suitable for analysis, Hitachi spokesman Chiharu Odaira told AFP.
“If this method is put to practical use, it will be a lot easier for people to get a cancer test, as there will be no need to go to a medical organization for a blood test,” he said.
It is also intended to be used to detect paediatric cancers.
“That will be especially beneficial in testing for small children” who are often afraid of needles, added Odaira.
Research published earlier this year demonstrated that a new blood test has shown promise toward detecting eight different kinds of tumors before they spread elsewhere in the body.
Usual diagnostic methods for breast cancer consist of a mammogram followed by a biopsy if a risk is detected.
For colon cancer, screening is generally conducted via a stool test and a colonoscopy for patients at high risk.
The Hitachi technology centers around detecting waste materials inside urine samples that act as a “biomarker” — a naturally occurring substance by which a particular disease can be identified, the company said in a statement.
The procedure aims to improve the early detection of cancer, saving lives and reducing the medical and social cost to the country, Odaira explained.
The experiment will start this month until through September in cooperation with Nagoya University in central Japan.
“We aim to put the technology in use in the 2020s, although this depends on various things such as getting approval from the authorities,” Odaira said.