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
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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.


Crown prince award ‘will build Saudi-Sino cultural bridges’

Updated 22 February 2019
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Crown prince award ‘will build Saudi-Sino cultural bridges’

ARAB NEWS BEIJING: Leading academics and literary talents from Saudi Arabia and China will be honored under an award scheme sponsored by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan announced the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Award for Cultural Cooperation between the Kingdom and China during a visit to King Abdul Aziz Public Library at Peking University in Beijing on Thursday.
The announcement was made on the eve of the Saudi crown prince’s visit to China, the latest stop on an Asian tour.
The cultural cooperation award will honor leading academics, translators and high-achievers from the Kingdom and China in the categories: Best scientific research in Arabic, best artistic work, best Chinese-Arabic book translation and vice versa, person of the year, and most influential person of the year in the cultural milieu.
Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan said: “This partnership is in the name of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and represents the common commitment to build cultural bridges between the two countries, developing cultural exchange, and promoting artistic and academic opportunities for our citizens.”
He said the yearly award will promote language, literature, and Arabic and creative arts in China, and encourage cultural exchange.
The Kingdom and China have a long history of cultural cooperation, including the annual Arabic Arts Festival.
The King Abdul Aziz Public Library at Peking University was inaugurated in 2017 during King Salman’s official visit to China, where he received an honorary doctorate degree.