KFF, IB launch pilot project

Updated 19 October 2015

KFF, IB launch pilot project

RIYADH: In an effort to boost educational standards in Saudi schools, the King Faisal Foundation (KFF) has teamed up with International Baccalaureate (IB) to run an ambitious education project for a cluster of 18 schools in the first phase.

The project supports IB’s commitment to giving more Arabic-speaking students access to a globally valued IB education.
Speaking about this tie-up between KFF and IB, Adrian Kearney, IB’s regional director, said here Sunday: “We are extremely pleased with the positive development of this pivotal project in Saudi Arabia … and it underpins our aim to gradually transform education in Saudi Arabia to be the best in class worldwide.”
He said that a series of workshops have been lined up this year and next year under this program. Workshops will continue monthly until the end of May 2016 and will involve over 540 school leaders and teachers in preparing them to apply for their schools' IB candidacy in 2016, said Kearney, while referring to the second phase of the joint project.
The project aims to increase access to an IB education for Saudi students and make a wider impact on the quality of education in the Kingdom.
A total of 18 schools across the country were invited to join the project and receive a series of leadership and pedagogy workshops that are funded by KFF.
The first leadership workshop, “Leading for learning in the 21st Century,” was run in Dammam, Riyadh and Jeddah from Oct. 3 to 4. Ministry of Education officials and school leaders from each of the regions and the 18 schools worked together to explore the theories and practices that support the IB Primary Years Program (PYP).
The workshop was organized and delivered by leaders of IB World Schools in the region, who facilitate “new thinking” and discussions on what schools can do to support the transition from teacher directed classroom practices to child-centered learning experiences.
Founded in 1968, the IB is a non-profit foundation, which offers four high quality and challenging education programs for a worldwide community of schools. Currently, more than 1 million IB students attend more than 4,000 schools in 147 countries.
The King Faisal Foundation (KFF) is an international philanthropic organization established in 1976 with the mission of preserving and perpetuating King Faisal’s legacy. It has been involved in several welfare projects across the world besides giving the prestigious King Faisal Award every year.

Indian exporters urge government to negotiate lift of Saudi ban on produce 

Updated 20 January 2019

Indian exporters urge government to negotiate lift of Saudi ban on produce 

  • The ban was imposed in wake of Nipah virus outbreak last May 
  • With mango season around the corner, Kerala exporters hope the Kingdom will allow imports again

NEW DELHI: Indian exporters have urged the government to ask Saudi Arabia to lift the importation ban on fruits and vegetables from the southern state of Kerala.

The outbreak of a deadly virus in certain parts of Kerala in May last year forced Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to ban imports of horticultural products from the state. 

Most GCC countries have lifted the ban thereafter.

“We are losing more than $1,000 per day as a result of the ban,” says P.E. Ashraf Ali of Pomona Exports, a Kerala-based export company that has been sending fruits and vegetables to Saudi Arabia for the past 20 years.

“We are now sending our products to other south Indian cities, like Coimbatore and Bangalore, and this entails extra costs for us and has significantly reduced our profit margin,” Ali told Arab News.  

Around 20 exporters in Kerala export horticulture products to GCC countries.

“Saudi Arabia is one of the major markets for us in the Gulf region,” said Ali. “Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah are three major airports to which we send our products.” 

V.S. Sunil Kumar, Kerala's agriculture minister, called it “a serious issue.”

He said: “I have already sent two letters to the union government in New Delhi to talk to Saudi Arabia and sort out the matter. New Delhi should reassure them and request them to lift the ban.”

Kumar, who is also a minister in the communist government in the southern state, reiterated the importance of trade with Saudi Arabia.

“Kerala and the Kingdom have shared close trade and cultural ties for centuries,” he told Arab News. “I understand the central government has already taken up the issue with authorities in Saudi Arabia. New Delhi should take more proactive steps to address the concerns of exporters in Kerala.”

V Venugopal, president of the Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a premier trade body in Kerala, called for inter-governmental discussion between India and Saudi Arabia to sort out this issue.

“The Kerala government has taken very effective steps to control the Nipah virus,” he said. “If exports do not resume soon, the fruit and vegetable market will be very badly impacted. These are very perishable items that cannot be stored. The Indian government should convince Riyadh that Nipah was a small incident that happened more than seven months ago.”

He said that mangoes from Kerala are among the most popular in Saudi Arabia and that many people from Kerala living in Saudi Arabia are expecting the fruit. 

“This is not only a loss for local farmers, but for people in the country,” he said.

Arab News approached the Commerce Ministry in New Delhi on this issue, but received no comment.