Jobs boost as HRDF signs deals with 23 universities

Updated 13 August 2015

Jobs boost as HRDF signs deals with 23 universities

RIYADH: The Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) has signed agreements with 23 universities in the Kingdom to help graduates find jobs in the local market, thanks to the initiative by the Ministries of Labor and Education.

Ibrahim Al-Moaiqel, director general of HRDF, signed the accords with the representatives of the universities in the presence of Labor Minister Mufarej Al-Haqabani and Education Minister Azzam Al-Dakhil recently.
An official from the Ministry of Labor said the idea is to harmonize the educational programs of the universities with the requirements of the Saudi labor market which would pave the way for young graduates to find employment in the private sector.
Under the program, he said, the skills of the undergraduates will be honed through short-term courses during summer and encourage them to participate in the national program.
Sahl bin Nashaat Abdel Jawad, vice chancellor of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals Research, said such a program was a long felt need for the benefit of the Saudi youth.
Mahroos Bin Ahmed Gabban, deputy chancellor of Taibah University for Development and Quality, said the agreement will bridge the gap between universities and the local labor market .
The establishment of the HRDF, with its legal and administratively and financially independent statuS, was to intensify Saudization in the private sector. It is one of the effective mechanisms to train and prepare male and female Saudis to take up jobs in the private sector.
The HRDF has been given the responsibilities that have been drawn from Resolution No. 107 of the Council of Minister, dated July 2000, and in the Royal Decree No. 18M, dated on August 2000. It was decided that the Fund will be a legal entity that enjoys administrative and financial independence. This status will enable those who run it to translate the policies of the government into reality; and they are supposed to do this by offering the essential knowledge and skills, which will help them to get jobs in the private sector to Saudi youths.
The HRDF continues to invest in state of the art information and communication technologies to develop skills of the national work force in the Kingdom for public and private sector employment purposes.


A Saudi app that promotes Arabic reading

Updated 28 min 48 sec ago

A Saudi app that promotes Arabic reading

  • Lamsa was launched in Saudi Arabia in 2012
  • It provides an innovative way of motivating children to learn

DUBAI: The most crucial year in a child’s education may be the age of 8, or third grade, according to a study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.The organization, which focuses on improving the wellbeing of American children, found this to be the developmental phase when children transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.”

The research also established that third graders who lack proficiency in reading are four times as likely to become high-school dropouts.

The significance of this pivotal point in early childhood development is what drives Badr Ward, CEO of Arabic edutainment app Lamsa, to develop innovative ways of motivating kids in the Arab world to read and learn in their language.

“If we don’t encourage reading at that age, we could be taking the risk of them having a life-long issue with catching up,” Ward said.

Since children already spend a considerable amount of their time on connected devices, Ward is convinced that edutainment — media designed to educate through entertainment — is the best way to make screen time “relevant and meaningful.”

Badr Ward, CEO of Lamsa. (Supplied Photo)

Launched in Saudi Arabia in 2012, Lamsa provides an ad-free platform featuring animated literature, rhymes, songs, interactive games and educational videos in Arabic for children aged between 2 and 8.

Ward said: “We have to face reality. Education systems across the world are legacy systems. Whether we like it or not, technology has changed the way we consume information. Children today have access to devices from the moment they are born. So whether it’s reading on paper or e-books or interactive storytelling, we need to look at encouraging them to read, and to love to read and learn.”

Ward explains that much like a favorite teacher impacts a child’s interest in a subject, edutainment has a significant effect on their curiosity about a topic.

He modelled the characters in the edutainment app after his daughter Joory and son Adam, whose lack of interest in reading prompted him to start Lamsa.

Ward sought advice from his friend Leonard Marcus, an author, historian and expert on English language children’s literature. Marcus recommended taking the kids to a comic book store and letting them explore without forcing them to buy anything.

“So I did that,” Ward said. “We went to the comic book store, and I let them roam around. They were fascinated by the images.”

“Arabic is not just a language. It’s so important for children to understand their heritage and culture.”

Badr Ward, CEO of Arabic edutainment app Lamsa

He then asked his kids if they wanted anything, and they asked to have some of the comics. “In the evening, I found my children opening the comic book and just laughing,” he said.

“Because of that start three years ago, they can’t let go of books now.”

Ward said seeing the power of images and illustrations has made him support using pictures to captivate children.

The lack of quality and culturally relevant educational material in Arabic remains a challenge, he said. For this reason, Lamsa’s content library has been developed to celebrate Arabic not just as a language but as a source of heritage, culture, literature, music and food. The app team works in partnership with Arab authors, illustrators and organizations.

“Arabic is not just a language,” Ward said, adding that for Arab children everywhere, understanding cultural context is crucial to their values, beliefs and identity.

“It’s so important in the development of children to have a clear understanding of where they come from. In order to establish understanding of other cultures and learn tolerance, you need to start with your own. It’s fundamental to confidence, identity and heritage.”

 

 The Middle East Exchange is one of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Global Initiatives that was launched to reflect the vision of the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai in the field of humanitarian and global development, to explore the possibility of changing the status of the Arab region. The initiative offers the press a series of articles on issues affecting Arab societies.