Costly lesson as Saudi parents spend millions on back-to-school items

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By investing in its human capital, Saudi Arabia ensures lasting growth and a knowledge-based economy. (SPA)
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By investing in its human capital, Saudi Arabia ensures lasting growth and a knowledge-based economy. (SPA)
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A Saudi man holding the hands of his daughters as they arrive to their school, Saudi Arabia. (Reuters file photo)
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By investing in its human capital, Saudi Arabia ensures lasting growth and a knowledge-based economy. (SPA)
Updated 02 September 2018

Costly lesson as Saudi parents spend millions on back-to-school items

RIYADH: Parents in Saudi Arabia will spend millions of dollars on back-to-school shopping, according to retail analysts and market leaders.
“Back-to-school is a major shopping event, and a sizeable amount is spent on school uniforms, shoes, books and other accessories,” Khaled Al-Ghanem, owner of the Al-Samran Stationery Store in Riyadh, told Arab News.
Al-Ghanem said that “most hypermarkets, supermarkets, bookshops and stationery outlets have geared up to cater to the needs of students and parents.”
Supermarkets as well as stationery outlets have substantial stocks of school uniforms, books and other accessories for students, he said.
“As classes start up, shoppers are still not done with back-to-school shopping, which will continue the whole week,” said Jameel Hamdan, owner of a school uniform store, here. He said that “school supplies and stationery retail sectors are reporting upswing in their sales for the last seven days.”
Most of the hypermarkets, school uniform stores and stationery shops including Lulu Hypermarket, Othaim Hyprmarket, Carrefour and Jarir Bookstore have launched their back-to-school range in stores. School supplies on promotional prices include school uniforms, backpack trolley bags, study tables, pencil cases, water bottles and lunch bags.
“A school uniform will cost between SR50 ($15) to SR200, but customers like to buy multipacks of each item at a bargain price,” said Saleem Khan, a Pakistani school uniform salesman.
Saleh Al-Nasser, a parent, who bought school supplies for his two children on Saturday, said: “Even smaller stationery shops are offering a wide range of back-to-school supplies at discount prices.”
Parents are spending more money now because many schools have a long list of requirements for students, he said.
Nada Al-Saeed, a senior class student at Al-Manarat School, said that she is “happy to go back to school after a long summer break.”
Al-Saeed said her first few days back at school will be devoted to socializing with classmates.
“Going back to school will be monotonous for few days after a long vacation in Pakistan,” said Moonis Raza, a primary student at Pakistan International School.
Raza said he dislikes carrying heavy bags of books to school each day. In fact, research has also shown that carrying heavy school bags can adversely affect students’ health.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends students’ bags weigh no more than 10 percent of their body weight. Many students struggle to carry larger school bags without help from their parents.


Music blooms in Saudi Arabia's mountain resort city of Taif as rose ensemble takes a bow

Updated 20 min 58 sec ago

Music blooms in Saudi Arabia's mountain resort city of Taif as rose ensemble takes a bow

  • An orchestra of Ukrainian and Russian musicians performed enchanting symphonies by Mozart and Beethoven at the Ward (Rose) Village
  • The month-long Taif Season festival highlights the city as a leading Arab tourist destination

TAIF: Hanging from suspended imitation rose flowers and dressed in white, an orchestra of Ukrainian and Russian musicians performed enchanting symphonies by Mozart and Beethoven at the Ward (Rose) Village in Taif’s Arrudaf Park as part of Taif Season.

The month-long Taif Season will run during August with more than 70 quality events designed to highlight the city as a popular Arab resort and leading Arab tourist destination.

Female musicians in the orchestra played from a height of seven meters, delighting large crowds with a spectacular performance of well-known symphonies.

Mashaal Al-Rashid, head of the company organizing the Rose Village Festival, told Arab News that the name ‘Rose Village’ was chosen in recognition of the importance of rose as the icon of Taif.

“The festival’s content was elaborated, and all the activities and events organized so as to promote the value, and the social and economic significance of Taif’s roses,” he said.

Al-Rashid said that the hanging roses orchestra was inspired by the beauty of Taif’s mountains and their startling roses. 

“Each flower carries a musician holding her instrument, delivering a breathtaking performance and an enjoyable experience,” he said.

The orchestra includes musicians from several countries who were selected after delivering string performances in various world capitals.

 Dr. Nayef Al-Buraq, dean of Taif University’s College of Arts, said that Taif’s character is based on its culture and location.

“It is a cultural tourist icon that evolves year after year to keep pace with the national Vision 2030, with events that attract visitors from around the world,” he said.

“The programs aims to promote quality of life, reflected through the joyful Taif Season that paints a bright picture of Saudi creativity,” said Al-Buraq.

He said that the challenges faced in preparing for this season included developing quality academic programs, highlighting popular arts, and attracting Arab, Saudi and international creative involvement.

“These challenges highlight the leading role played by the Kingdom’s government in catering for culture and arts, and turning this festival into a tourist and cultural event throughout the year,” he said.

Festival visitor Omar Al-Khalidi said that the event offers musical attractions and cultural arts that have long been absent from Taif.

“Everyone knows that Taif is the city of arts and culture, and the first Saudi city to host a movie theater. Arrudaf Park was the scene for concerts for well-known artists such as Abdullah Mohammed, Mohammed Abdu, Talal Maddah and many other Arab talents,” he said.