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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.

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