Saudi Islamic Ministry steps up efforts in Oceania

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Saudi Islamic Affairs Ministry organizes iftars in New Zealand, Fiji, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, and oversees the distribution of dates to break the Ramadan fast throughout Oceania. (SPA)
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Saudi Islamic Affairs Ministry organizes iftars in New Zealand, Fiji, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, and oversees the distribution of dates to break the Ramadan fast throughout Oceania. (SPA)
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Saudi Islamic Affairs Ministry organizes iftars in New Zealand, Fiji, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, and oversees the distribution of dates to break the Ramadan fast throughout Oceania. (SPA)
Updated 27 May 2019

Saudi Islamic Ministry steps up efforts in Oceania

  • Around 70 Saudi imams to conduct sermons in 35 countries, and organized King Salman’s iftar program in 24 countries

CANBERRA: During the holy month of Ramadan, Saudi Arabia becomes the focal point of the Muslim world — not just the Middle East and North Africa, but further afield — giving it a central role in supporting Muslims around the globe. 
Saudi government bodies, including the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance, take it upon themselves to spread good values and assist people through various activities and programs, even in places Islam remains nascent. Perhaps the most remote, wide-ranging of these is Oceania. 
The Kingdom’s religious attache in Australia, Anwar bin Abdul Aziz Al-Suli, said: “We organize various programs and activities targeting more than 800,000 Muslims living across Australia.”
The ministry also organizes iftars in New Zealand, Fiji, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, and oversees the distribution of dates to break the Ramadan fast throughout Oceania.
This year, it also sent 70 Saudi imams to conduct sermons in 35 countries, and organized King Salman’s iftar program in 24 countries in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe, at a total cost of SR3.75 million ($1 million) benefiting over a million Muslims. Over 500,000 copies of the Qur’an have also been delivered across the world. 


Saudi e-learning platform offers a lesson to 10m users worldwide

Mohammed Al-Madani
Updated 1 min 54 sec ago

Saudi e-learning platform offers a lesson to 10m users worldwide

  • While some may know Classera as a Silicon Valley company, many would be surprised to learn that the e-learning platform was developed by a Saudi entrepreneur, Mohammed Al-Madani, now the firm’s CEO

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Education’s decision to introduce remote study in the Kingdom provided a major boost for the Classera educational platform, which now has more than 10 million users worldwide.
But while some may know Classera as a Silicon Valley company, many would be surprised to learn that the e-learning platform was developed by a Saudi entrepreneur, Mohammed Al-Madani, now the firm’s CEO.
Al-Madani told Arab News that the platform’s users, including both teachers and students, have access to powerful and intelligent technologies that help the educational process.
“Classera today is working with more than 30 countries and more than 10 million users. Entire education ministries are using the platform, and we are the biggest market share of private schools in the region,” he said.
The number of users is growing every day. “We don’t serve only schools, we do virtual training with many clients working in corporates or governments. We give them our platform for virtual training to avoid the problems of face-to-face training due to the pandemic.”
Al-Madani and his partner, Muhammed Al-Ashmawi, built the platform with the aim of redefining e-learning, developing integrated virtual schools linking individual education with artificial intelligence and social learning.
“We have different teams from the US where we started and also offices in more than five countries around the world,” he said. “We also have companies that represent us in 30 other countries.”
Al-Madani said that Classera’s engineers worked on the technical side, while e-learning specialists helped education ministries and private schools around the world learn how to utilize the technology.
“Female employees play a big role in our organization. They account for close to 40 percent, and we’re proud of them — they are a key part of our success,” Al-Madani said. Staff come from more than 15 countries, with a mix of nationalities, backgrounds and age groups.
Classera was working remotely before the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“We utilized all the software that made us all connected at the same time. We have multiple tools, multiple solutions that actually enabled us to reach a high level of communication. It felt like we’re one team in one place.”
When the outbreak started, the Saudi government did not force private schools to choose a certain platform, he said. Schools have the right to choose which platform suits them. “We believe that’s the right thing to do because each organization has different requirements and needs. And sometimes it’s very hard and not fair to force schools to use a platform that does not meet their needs,” he added. Many schools have customized solutions, he said.
“So, in a country such as Saudi Arabia, we have 80 percent of the A-class private schools. Many of those schools have been working with us for more than seven years. During that time, we customized the system to suit their specific needs.”
Classera has been working in the Middle East and North Africa market for some time. “Luckily, even before the pandemic, we had the biggest market share in the region.” The brand has grown rapidly amid the pandemic, thanks to the trust it had built up.
Al-Madani said that Classera is “prepared for big numbers” and has been dealing with big ministries.
“Our team is working around the clock to overcome these challenges. We want students’ education to be a fulfilling experience.”
Classera launched a free corporate social responsibility initiative, “Learning Never Stops,” shortly after the outbreak of the pandemic. The scheme is open to education authorities and private schools around the world.
The education platform has a total of 60 million page views daily since school resumed and is among the top 10,000 visited websites worldwide.