SEU to become sole provider of e-education

Updated 23 December 2012

SEU to become sole provider of e-education

The Higher Education Ministry’s recent decision restricting e-learning to Saudi Electronic University will boost distance education in the Kingdom, offering advanced courses to students, said Abdullah Al-Moussa, acting rector of the university.
He was speaking at a meeting attended by top officials from 25 government universities to discuss how to implement the ministry’s decision. Muhammad Al-Ouhali, deputy minister for education affairs was present.
He advised universities to stop accepting students for e-learning courses beginning from 2013-14 academic year. “During this period, SEU will establish e-learning centers in different parts of the Kingdom in cooperation with other Saudi universities,” he added.
Al-Moussa said SEU would follow a five-phase program for students’ intake. “In the first stage we’ll review student trends and job market requirements. In the second stage, we’ll create suitable learning atmosphere. After that we’ll start admitting students. It will be followed by the phases of review and changes.”
Al-Moussa emphasized his university’s role in establishing a knowledge-based economy in the Kingdom. “We will also meet the Kingdom’s development requirements and labor market needs.”
He said the ministry’s decision would enable the university to accommodate more students who wanted to join various e-learning courses, which has become popular among Saudis.
“The decision aims at unifying national policies related to e-learning and improving the quality of e-learning services. It will also contribute to Saudi universities specializing in different academic areas,” Al-Moussa said.
SEU will not only provide certificates to students but also develop their various skills from the beginning. “We are confident that our students will find a suitable place in the job market because our courses are based on the best e-learning models in the world,” he added.
Al-Ouhali said there was a big increase in the number of Saudis joining e-learning courses. “They wanted to continue working while registering for different e-learning courses,” he added. About 61.59 percent of e-learning Saudi students are men and 34.23 percent women. He said the ministry’s decision was aimed at making e-learning more professional.
Yassir Bahadur, a professor at King Abdulaziz University’s Faculty of Medicine, said many Saudis living abroad join e-learning courses in Saudi universities to add to their academic profile. “This is a growing trend among the Saudis,” he told Arab News.

EXCLUSIVE: Saudi singer-songwriter Tamtam releases music video ahead of historic end to driving ban

Updated 22 June 2018

EXCLUSIVE: Saudi singer-songwriter Tamtam releases music video ahead of historic end to driving ban

  • Singer-songwriter Tamtam has released a music video to coincide with the day her fellow countrywomen make history
  • In an exclusive interview with Arab News, the LA-based musician said she hopes the song inspires women to see that with patience and perseverance anything can happen. 

JEDDAH: With the long-awaited day when Saudi women can finally drive drawing near, a Saudi singer-songwriter based in Los Angeles has written a song to mark the historic occasion.

Called simply “Drive,” Tamtam’s take on the breakthrough reform covers a range of emotions: Happiness, pride and even surprise.

Millions around the world shared the news that Saudi women would be allowed to drive when it was announced last fall, and with all the preparations taking place, the singer wanted to take part in the best way she could. So she wrote the lyrics to a song that mirrored the exciting events ahead.

Tamtam’s release focuses on the themes of freedom, equality and empowerment that she has explored in her music since the start of her career in 2012.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, the LA-based musician said she hopes the song inspires women to see that with patience and perseverance anything can happen. 

“If I had to use one word to describe the feeling, it would be hope. Women in Saudi are ready to have a bigger voice and become more independent.

“This is a huge step forward for all of us. The country is showing us that they know we are ready, and they are here to support us and help launch us forward,” said Tamtam. 

Her song’s lyrics include the words: “We know what we want, we know it’s our time, let go of past perceptions, tomorrow is mine, we got drive” — suggesting that it’s time to look forward and stop looking back at what once was.

The verse mirrors the narrative many Saudis are sharing with the world, empowered by the dramatic changes Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is accomplishing with Vision 2030 and beyond. 

Tamtam, inspired by the late Michael Jackson, started singing aged 15. She wrote her first single, “Little Girl,” while attending high school in California after her family moved to the US from Riyadh. Her singing and songwriting have been influenced by events around her, always related to current issues with a twist of optimism. 

Whether it’s her strong vocals or hauntingly beautiful voice, Tamtam’s music transcends expectations. This young Saudi is singing and making a name for herself in the City of Angels, and her positive energy is reflected in her music.

As Saudis embrace a host of reforms, Tamtam believes many Westerners are shocked by the news. Yet people forget that Saudi is a relatively young country and more good changes will come, she said. 

“With hope comes more aspirations, dreams, new achievements and positive energy.”

The “Drive” video is uplifting, with playful, artistic imagery, and soulful and empowering vocals. The singer and her friends wear white, representing peace and femininity, and drive a yellow Ford Mustang convertible (Tamtam’s dream car). 

“Whenever I’m in a car, especially if there is traffic or it’s a long drive, I always turn on music to put me in a better mood. Driving is so much more enjoyable with music,” said Tamtam. “I hope that this song will be blasting through car speakers everywhere.” 

So the question is: Will Tamtam get her Saudi license, too?

“Yes, I can’t wait,” is the answer, obviously.