Female teachers join sports training program in 3 major Saudi cities

FILE- In this May 12, 2014 file photo, a girl shoots baskets during team practice at a private sports club in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s Education Ministry said Tuesday July 11, 2017, it will introduce physical education classes for girls in public schools next year, a decision that comes after years of calls by women across the kingdom demanding greater rights and greater access to sports.(AP)
Updated 05 March 2018
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Female teachers join sports training program in 3 major Saudi cities

JEDDAH: A youth leadership initiative run by the British Council KSA and the UK-based Youth Sports Trust, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, has almost completed its training tour in the three main provinces in Saudi Arabia.
The initiative focuses on raising awareness of the importance of physical education (PE), through helping sports teachers and young students to drive passion and fun for sports in their communities. It aims to increase society’s fitness level by creating an atmosphere of healthy entertainment.
This initiative has covered almost 52 schools in the three main provinces of Saudi Arabia: Riyadh, Jeddah and the Eastern Province. It started in the three main cities because they are well-equipped to hold sports events and festivals.
Lamia Al-Issa, the general supervisor at the Ministry of Education, told Arab News: “Through this program, we aim to achieve 60-70 percent of one of Saudi Arabia’s 2030 primary goals, which is to increase the percentage of individuals exercising at least once a week from 13 to 40 percent of the population.”
The ministry aims to expand the program and provide PE coaches in the rest of the Kingdom, with the opportunity to benefit from such training programs. Fifty-two female coaches from different areas of the three main provinces have benefited from this training tour.
Mona Al-Shehri, English and physical education teacher for 6th grade students, one of the coaches participating in the program, told Arab News: “I think this is a unique experience as it is the first time it has been held in Saudi Arabia. The program gives rise to a new generation that will be more aware physically and health-wise.”
Coaches receive intensive training for two weeks. The second week is a practical application of what the coaches learn in the first week.
The training program focuses on building leadership and team-building skills, and increasing fitness awareness among students and teachers through engaging in creative activities.
Al-Shehri said: “We also engage with the young female leaders to direct them to plan a safe and enjoyable sports festival, which includes around 100 female elementary-school students.
“The young leaders are trained to choose different creative and innovative activities to develop their own leadership skills, and then to be able to build teams and achieve success. This way, the young leaders become sports ambassadors within their society and community.”
In realizing the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and supporting the theme of having a vibrant society with fulfilling lives, PE classes have been gradually implemented in all-girls schools this academic year, 2017-2018.
According to Al-Issa, there is a dedicated team preparing and constructing the coming year’s curricula, to be able to deliver an appropriate program to benefit our students.
Youth Sports Trust is an international charity based in the UK that is passionate about building a brighter future for young people through PE and sport.


We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States help build stronger ties. (AN photo)
Updated 19 September 2018
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We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

  • We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States: US Public Affairs Counselor in KSA

RIYADH: Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States “help build stronger ties between the two countries and bring them closer together,” according to Brian Shott, the new US Public Affairs Counselor in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at a reception to welcome him at the US embassy in Riyadh on September 18, he said: “One of the main things we do is we try to share aspects of the United States and of American culture, but we also learn from Saudis and Saudi culture.” 

In her opening speech, the embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Martina Strong also highlighted the enduring relationship between the two countries, saying: “Tonight is a celebration, a celebration of a friendship that has extended over many, many decades.”

Shott, who previously served in Morocco, Cairo and Baghdad, will be in Saudi Arabia for the next two years, during which he will promote educational and cultural exchanges.

“There are some real opportunities here and we have been fortunate enough to be able take advantage of partnerships with Saudi organizations and Saudi agencies, whether it is the General Authority for Culture or the Ministry of Education,” he said.

“We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the reception also served as a farewell to Robin Yeager, the cultural attache in Riyadh. She said that it had been a “very dynamic time to be in Saudi Arabia. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be here at a time when I get to know first-hand the future that Saudis are trying to build.”

The night that women were were given the right to drive, she said she went out and saw the “thrill on their faces.” To assist with empowerment and other progressive policies, embassy staff work on social issues and provide leadership training for women’s groups, she said.

“It is beautiful because they take something that an American expert talks to them about and they turn it into the Saudi way to approach it,” she added. “It’s not that we are changing things; it’s that we are giving them tools, so they can build what they want to build.”