Saudi Justice Ministry spurns ‘negative’ police stations for homelike centers in child custody cases

Parent-child visitation at Al-Mawaddah Society for Family Development in Jeddah. (Courtesy of Al-Mawaddah Society)
Updated 27 March 2017

Saudi Justice Ministry spurns ‘negative’ police stations for homelike centers in child custody cases

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Justice will establish child custody visitation centers in collaboration with the non-profit sector to offer a safer, healthier and entertaining space for divorced parents to collect their children.
The centers allow parents to spend time with their children instead of meeting at police stations, according to the new legal custody rules.
A date to open the visitation centers has not been announced.
Visitations at police stations is deemed to have a lifelong negative impact on the child’s psychological health, according to Mohammed Al-Radi, general manager and consultant at the non-profit Al-Mawaddah Society for Family Development, registered under the Ministry of Labor and Social Development.
“We started receiving cases from law firms, police stations and sometimes we get cases from people who voluntarily approach us seeking help without going to courts,” Al-Radi told Arab News. “They see us as a neutral ground.”
The Jeddah-based society will work with the Justice Ministry on implementing the initiative in 60 centers around the Kingdom. The society, which has been accommodating and organizing parent-child visitation for the past four years, will be the model accredited by the ministry for other societies that wish to take part in this initiative. Al-Radi said that the society is now approaching counterparts across the Kingdom who want to execute this initiative.
Al-Mawaddah, which offers counseling services for parents and children, is so far the only authorized visitation center for the Makkah Province in collaboration with the Justice Ministry, Court of Civil Affairs and the Executive Court.
Al-Radi said the society is working with 846 families to either collect their children from the society or spend the visitation time there. Last year, it received 13,900 visitations.
“We do not only aim to execute this initiative,” said Al-Radi. Our goal is to provide the right environment for children after their parents get divorced.”
Al-Radi added that the society provides post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) therapy, especially for children of parents that are in a post-divorce ongoing conflict. “The society managed to decrease the conflict between families by 30 percent last year.”
The Ministry of Justice and Al-Mawadah Society have agreed to work on minimizing divorce rates and forming a guide for family protection to be circulated among committees supervised by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development.
The ministry has issued a number of decisions to protect and keep rights of children including a circular issued by the Minister of Justice Walid Al-Samaani in which he considered that abstention from paying the prescribed alimony is one of the forms of violence against children, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) has reported.
About 36 percent of marriages in Saudi Arabia end with divorce, according to a report issued last year by the General Authority of Statistics. Saudi courts have registered 157,000 marriages and 46,000 divorces. About 127 cases of divorce occur per day.


Global organizations commend Saudi Arabia’s role in e-learning

Updated 23 October 2020

Global organizations commend Saudi Arabia’s role in e-learning

JEDDAH: Six international organizations have completed two studies on e-learning in the Kingdom and praised its efforts in providing a rapid response, multiple options and continuous improvement during the coronavirus pandemic.
The studies involved the participation of 342,000 respondents and were conducted under the supervision of the Kingdom’s National Center for e-Learning.
The center said that the global organizations completed two comprehensive studies on the experience of public and higher education in Saudi Arabia during the pandemic, with the aim of documenting and studying the reality of the experience and coming up with initiatives to develop e-learning practices in accordance with current global practices and standards.
The studies were conducted with the participation of students, faculty members, teachers, parents and school leaders.
The number of participants in the public education study reached 318,000, while the number of participants in the higher education study reached 24,000.
The first study was prepared by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), with the participation of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Quality Matters (QM), the UNESCO Institute of Information Technologies in Education (IITE), the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA) in the US.
The second study was prepared by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) with the cooperation of the Harvard Graduate School
of Education.
In the studies, reference comparisons were made with more than 193 countries. The two studies showed the Kingdom’s distinction in the diversity of options, including, for example, electronic content and satellite channels available for e-learning in public education.

NUMBER

342k

The studies on e-learning involved the participation of 342,000 respondents and were conducted under the supervision of the Kingdom’s National Center for e-Learning.

The percentage of countries that succeeded in providing these at the national level was only 38 percent.
The study conducted by the OECD and the Harvard Graduate School of Education included a comparison of the Kingdom’s response to education during the COVID-19 pandemic with 37 member states.
The results showed the Kingdom’s progress in 13 out of 16 indicators on the average of
these countries.
The study also revealed that teachers received significant support to overcome obstacles to e-learning.
The study of public education indicated that there was a clear strategy for the Ministry of Education to reopen schools in the Kingdom and address any issues.
OLC hailed the efforts of the Saudi Ministry of Education in dealing with the crisis by providing a variety of options for e-learning, and the quick response to the pandemic and immediate shift to remote instruction.
The two studies recommended 71 proposed development initiatives for public education and 78 proposed development initiatives for higher education.
The National Center for e-Learning is working in coordination with the Ministry of Education to present the initiatives and begin their implementation.
The center announced that the organizations that conducted the studies would publish their results and complete the second phase at the end of the current semester.