Facebook, Twitter classes for new school students

Updated 10 July 2014

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.

Start-up of the Week: The app that restores work-life balance

Updated 19 June 2018

Start-up of the Week: The app that restores work-life balance

  • MRSOOL helps consumers to transport goods from any store to their door
  • Since 2017 MRSOOL has had more than 80,000 couriers across the Kingdom, potentially earning the couriers an average SR 10,000 ($2,700) within two months.

JEDDAH: Too many errands, too little time? This is how MRSOOL co-founder Naif Al-Simri used to feel, so he decided to do something about it — and not just for himself.

Realizing that he was not managing to successfully juggle the demands of his job and his family, he started to think about how he could manage things better.

His thought processes eventually led him to develop MRSOOL, an app that helps consumers to transport goods from any store to their door. All consumers need to do is post their orders, and an MRSOOL courier will go to the store to pick up and deliver the desired items to them. 

“I used to work a lot and I was not at home. My family always needed something, but I could not do it for them because of work commitments. So I would suffer because I could not do their errands and also could not find a solution. The fact that I could not find a solution would upset my family,” he said. 

Thinking about the problem — and how it affected so many people in the modern world — triggered a lightbulb moment for Al-Simri. He came up with the idea of creating a platform that would deliver anything, without him having to leave the office and pick up his family. 

“If I had to run errands I would have to leave the office and take them (to the shops). That is like five trips, so I thought to myself what if I have someone who lives close by pick up what is needed on his way and make money by doing it,” he said. 

He started to outline his idea to some of his close friends who work in app development. He talked through whether they thought there was market demand for such a service and analyzed the challenges. As he threw around ideas with friends, he was starting to formulate a business plan. It was at this stage that he started to see the potential.

He discussed the concept with Ayman Al-Sanad (a friend?), and although Al-Sanad had come up against Al-Simri’s ideas before, and was cautious about practicalities, his future partner was impressed by the proposal. Nevertheless, Al-Sanad made some suggestions for tweaking the original idea. 

“I took Ayman’s feedback and went back to the drawing board. We were both working at the time so we would touch base on weekends to discuss our development and progress,” Al-Simri added.

The two future partners started working together to develop the application, which was eventually launched in 2015. Today MRSOOL serves the whole country and there are plans to expand to the GCC and Arab countries.

Not only is MRSOOL now ranked in the top 10 applications in the Kingdom, with a star rating of 4.8 out of 5, but it is even listed in the top 200 active applications by the US Apple store. 

Since 2017 MRSOOL has had more than 80,000 couriers across the Kingdom, potentially earning the couriers an average SR 10,000 ($2,700) within two months.