Adapt or fall behind, Gulf education leaders warned

Saudi Arabia’s spending on education in its 2018 budget totalled SR192 billion. (AN photo)
Updated 22 February 2018
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Adapt or fall behind, Gulf education leaders warned

JEDDAH: Education in Saudi Arabia must adapt to keep pace with “profound developments” in global technology, the 7th Gulf education conference was told.
Deputy of Private Education Saad Al-Fuhaidi said: “New formulas must be found to harmonize education with the competencies required in today’s generation and the future functions that it has in the realms of cybersecurity and biotechnology, as well as three-dimensional printing, supercomputing and other profound developments.”
Earlier, Matthias Mitman, US Counsul General in Jeddah, told the conference: “Education is one of our countries’ strongest ties, as it increases the mutual understanding and gives Americans a more accurate picture about Saudi society and culture.”
“Saudi students excel through many education fields in the United States,” he said. “Saudis who graduated from US universities are able to start businesses and work in Saudi Arabia, including doctors, engineers, teachers and scientists. The US welcomes tens of thousands of Saudi nationals to study, and Saudi Arabia currently has the fourth-highest number of national students in the US.”
Chairman of the University of Business and Technology, Abdullah Dahlan, told the conference: “The Saudi Arabia leadership has made education one of its top priorities. Education has been one of the most important fundamentals of the future vision ... a foundation for building the state.” 
The Kingdom’s campaign to eradicate illiteracy offers services to more than 957 students. The campaign’s executive director, Hassan Adnawi, said that 26 learning centers for male and female students had been opened since 2017, with 58 teachers providing courses in subjects associated with the campaign.
Education Director of Gulf Education David Lock said: “The Kingdom has set out in Vision 2030 very clearly what it wants to do, but for that to happen the education sector has to respond and it has to respond at all levels, not just for the benefit of Saudi Arabia in Saudi Arabia but also for the benefit of Saudi Arabia in the world. Consequently, basic education, dealing with illiteracy, and introducing more people to English and other languages are vital for the success of Vision 2030.”
Simon Collis, British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said: “There is a new understanding of where Saudi Arabia is standing in the world now and in the future. When we come to Vision 2030, you can see that the focus on education is at the heart of the program. It seems to me that every single challenge is a human resource development.”


King Salman invites Indonesian centenarian to perform Hajj

Updated 58 min 41 sec ago
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King Salman invites Indonesian centenarian to perform Hajj

  • The man said he and his family can’t financially afford to perform Hajj
  • He was welcomed by the Saudi ambassador to Indonesia

DUBAI: King Salman has invited an Indonesian man, who is reportedly 140 years old, and his family to perform Hajj, the Saudi embassy in Jakarta said on Wednesday.
“The Custodian of the Two Holy mosques invites elderly Indonesian man and his family to perform Hajj,” the embassy tweeted.

The centenarian sent his appeal to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a video, asking the Saudi rulers to invite him and his daughters to perform Hajj for the first time, as they were unable to afford it on their own.
Social media users shared his video, in which he and two of his daughters explained their situation in Arabic

The man was hosted by Saudi ambassador to Indonesia Esam Al-Thagafi in Jakarta, who broke the good news to him.
The Saudi rulers saw the video and Hajj authorities will take care of their travels and necessities, Al-Thagafi told the man and his family.

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, and Muslims should aim to perform the ritual at least once in their lifetime.