Critical thinking and philosophy to be taught in Saudi schools

The program aims to boost students’ conference. (AFP)
Updated 05 January 2019

Critical thinking and philosophy to be taught in Saudi schools

  • The Vision 2030 reform plan says education should be developed to focus on pupils not teachers, inculcate skills, improve confidence and promote a spirit of creativeness

Critical thinking and philosophy are to be taught at Saudi schools from this year, following a decision by the Education Ministry to revamp the curriculum for the 21st century.
Dr. Ahmed Al-Issa, former education minister, recently inaugurated a program that aims to improve independent thinking by encouraging questions and creating an environment conducive to respecting different viewpoints. The program also aims to boost student confidence.
Al-Issa said the course would be part of the “Life Skills” curriculum currently being taught until it became an independent course.
It had taken time and effort to introduce the new subjects and an international team had been brought in to work alongside local specialists, he added.
The next steps would be introducing school subjects on the law and financial literacy, he said.
A spokesman for the Education Ministry, Mubarak Al-Osaimi, said the subjects were in line with the Vision 2030 reform plan.
Critical thinking and problem solving were important skills and it was important for young people to master them to help with personal development, he added.
Information on the course would be available to students, their families, teachers and trainees in the form of textbooks and handbooks used in more than 60 countries worldwide, he told Arab News.
Al-Osaimi also said the ministry had provided every kind of support to scholarship students for university admissions and improving scholarship procedures.

The Vision 2030 reform plan says education should be developed to focus on pupils not teachers, inculcate skills, improve confidence and promote a spirit of creativeness.
Saudi Arabia has pledged to raise its literacy rate from 94.4 percent to 100 percent in the near future. The Kingdom leads many Arab and Asian countries in achieving literacy targets.
Last month, Sabya Directorate of Education in Jazan inaugurated the first virtual school for students with special needs.
The assistant director of education in Sabya governorate, Hanan bint Ali Al-Hazimi, inaugurated the school.
Al-Hazimi said the virtual school was important due to the hardships faced by students with special needs.
She said the virtual school aims to provide an opportunity to all those students who are otherwise unable to continue their studies.

Saudi Arabia, South Korea reach agreement on visas

King Salman chairs the Cabinet session in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 16 January 2019

Saudi Arabia, South Korea reach agreement on visas

  • Cabinet OKs air transport pact with Indonesia

JEDDAH: The Saudi Cabinet met to discuss a series of national and global developments on Tuesday, in a session chaired by King Salman.

At the forefront of the agenda was the escalation in tensions between Israel and Hamas along the Gaza border, and the continuing encroachment on Palestinian land by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. The Cabinet responded by demanding that the UN Security Council intervene. King Salman also relayed to ministers the outcome of his talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which covered many regional issues.

The minister of media, Turki bin Abdullah Al-Shabanah, announced that after reviewing proposals from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a decision from the Shoura Council, a memorandum of understanding between the government and the Republic of Korea on granting visit visas had been agreed upon.

The Cabinet approved the amendment of the air agreement on regular air transport between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

The Cabinet, meanwhile, praised the progress of the 2025 Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development Program, aimed at enhancing farming techniques by promoting sustainable water and renewable energy sources.

They also discussed the framework in Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program 2020 for building a sustainable renewable energy sector, reiterating aims to lead global renewable energy developments over the next decade, and create projects such as the wind-powered plant at Dumat Al-Jandal, as part of the King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative.

In a statement, though, Al-Shabanah said: “The Cabinet discussed the announcement made by the minister of energy, industry and mineral resources about the Kingdom’s oil and gas reserves, which highlighted the importance of Saudi Arabia as a secure source of oil supplies in the long term.”

He added, in closing, the Cabinet’s praise for the efforts of Saudi security forces in the tracking and arrest of seven people in Qatif, which foiled a planned terrorist attack.