Saudi Arabia’s literacy push comes with a cash prize

An elite group of male and female teachers will teach students Arabic, religion and mathematics. (File/AFP)
Updated 08 June 2019

Saudi Arabia’s literacy push comes with a cash prize

  • The program targets men and women whose circumstances have hindered their studies
  • The two-month campaigns will run until Aug. 5

RIYADH: A Saudi education campaign will offer financial rewards as part of efforts to reduce illiteracy in isolated and remote areas of the Kingdom.

The Education Ministry’s summer campaigns will be run in four departments: Al-Khadra in Makkah, Al-Wajh in Tabuk, Al-Edabi in Sabya and Tarj in Bisha.

The two-month campaigns will run until Aug. 5 and come as Saudi Arabia increases efforts to reduce illiteracy in line with Saudi Vision 2030, and improve education in all areas of the Kingdom.

Summer campaigns will be held in areas where it is difficult to organize regular classes, such as regions that are home to nomadic Bedouin.

The program targets men and women whose circumstances have hindered their studies, and aims to familiarize students with holy teachings. It will also teach the principles of reading and writing, reinforce a sense of national belonging, and raise cultural awareness in religious, social, health, economic and agricultural areas.

The Education Ministry is supported by several government sectors in the program’s introduction: The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance; Ministry of Health; Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture; Ministry of Labor and Social Development, Ministry of Information; and the Technical and Vocational Training Corp.


1,000 — Social institutions and businessmen have helped with incentives for students during the program and on its completion. Students who complete the program will earn a degree in eradicating illiteracy as well as a financial reward of SR1,000 ($267).

Education departments in Makkah, Tabuk, Sabya and Bisha continued their preparations to start the campaigns as scheduled.

In Makkah, the literacy campaign includes 26 centers and targets more than 300 male and female students with 40 teachers, coordinators, supervisors, an executive director and his assistant.

In Tabuk, the Directorate General of Education will launch the campaign through the main center in Al-Rass village and at other centers such as Al-Kar, Al-Bida’a, Al-Nabeh, Al-Sadid, Al-Khorba’a, Al Manjoor and Be’er Al-Madaqqa.

The campaign is titled “Eradicating Illiteracy, a Religious Duty and a National Quest.”

In Sabya, the campaign in Al-Edabi will target more than 1,000 male and female students in more than 28 centers.

The campaign in Bisha includes more than 20 educational centers in schools in Wadi Tarj’s villages and centers ranging from Al-Mahamel village to Qotbah through villages in Mehr, Tarj and Al-Qawba.

Saudi tourism megaproject aims to turn the Red Sea green

Updated 20 October 2019

Saudi tourism megaproject aims to turn the Red Sea green

  • Development will protect endangered hawksbill turtle, while coral research could help save the Great Barrier Reef

RIYADH: Key ecological targets are driving Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea tourism megaproject, its leader has told Arab News.

The development will not only protect the habitat of the endangered hawksbill turtle, but could also save coral reefs that are dying elsewhere in the world, said Red Sea Development Company Chief Executive John Pagano.

The project is taking shape in a 28,000 square kilometer region of lagoons, archipelagos, canyons and volcanic geology between the small towns of Al-Wajh and Umluj on the Kingdom’s west coast.

One island, Al-Waqqadi, looked like the perfect tourism destination, but was discovered to be a breeding ground for the hawksbill. “In the end, we said we’re not going to develop it. It shows you can balance development and conservation,” Pagano said.

Scientists are also working to explain why the area’s coral reef system — fourth-largest in the world —  is thriving when others around the world are endangered.

“To the extent we solve that mystery, the ambition would be to export that to the rest of the world,” Pagano said. “Can we help save the Great Barrier Reef or the Caribbean coral that has been severely damaged?”


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