Digital transformation of education sector vital for Vision 2030

Jamil Ahmed, Saudi Arabia country manager, Aruba.
Updated 09 June 2019

Digital transformation of education sector vital for Vision 2030

One of the main pillars of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 is the educational sector. Shifting to digital education to support teacher and student progress will no doubt be a cornerstone of the National Transformation Program (NTP) and an area that Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, intends to play a key role in as an “enabler” through its mobile-first architecture that creates smarter networks for smarter students.
Jamil Ahmed, Saudi Arabia country manager at Aruba, said: “Classrooms are changing. We are seeing the impact of the digital revolution. Learning environments are now preparing students for their future work environments. Classrooms are shifting away from rows of desks, to an environment that promotes collaboration between students, teachers and learning devices. It’s what we call the optimized digital classroom. Textbooks are being swapped out for mobile devices that provide up-to-date content in real time. Printed exams are transitioning to online assessments. 1:1 and BYOD initiatives are replacing wired computer labs. Skype and Google Hangouts are fueling new study groups. And personalized learning programs are developed to meet the individual needs of each student.
“This digital classroom needs to support 21st century learning, with 1:1 initiatives and project-based learning. It needs to provide anytime/anywhere access to cloud-based apps like Google Apps for education and Office 365. It’s a classroom that easily provides guest access and encourages student collaboration, that can also prioritize critical learning apps such as Online Assessments. As a result, IT professionals in education in the Kingdom need to plan for the future and build a next-generation infrastructure that supports this digital learning environment and emerging technologies.”
A little over a year ago, the Education Ministry introduced an initiative called Future Gate to promote digital learning and “change the whole setting” in schools.

It handed out iPads to students and teachers in schools and is encouraging more technology-enabled teaching and learning.
Aruba is keen to work with government and educational institutions in the Kingdom toward developing this mobile-first strategy that will enable digital transformation of the education sector and e-learning.
“Aruba’s mobile-first strategy advocates unifying all things mobility to take the pressure off the educational institution’s IT — access management, the wired and wireless network, as well as the management and security of mobile devices and apps. All these elements need to be combined into one cohesive system, which offers a simpler and more secure way to support the mobility needs of students, faculty and guests,” said Ahmed.


Whale shark hot spot in Red Sea offers new insights

An international team of KAUST researchers studied whale shark movement patterns near the Shib Habil reef (Arabic for ‘Rope Reef’), a known whale shark hotspot in the Red Sea on the Saudi Arabian coast.
Updated 18 November 2019

Whale shark hot spot in Red Sea offers new insights

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), whale sharks are considered endangered, which means the species has suffered a population decline of more than 50 percent in the past three generations. The whale shark is only two classifications from being extinct. Improvements and conservation efforts are in place, but there is still a long way to
go to protect these gentle underwater giants.
An international team of researchers, led by marine scientists at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia and including researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in the US, has performed an extensive study of whale shark movement and residency using a combination of three scientific techniques: Visual census, acoustic monitoring and satellite telemetry.
Their six-year study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, tracked long-term whale shark movement patterns near the Shib Habil reef (Arabic for “Rope Reef”), a known whale shark hotspot in the Red Sea. The team monitored a total of 84 different sharks over a six-year period, and their results shed light on whale shark behaviors,
which could help to inform conservation efforts.
“The study takes years of passive acoustic monitoring data and combines it with previously published visual census and satellite telemetry data from the same individual sharks. The combined dataset is used to characterize the aggregation’s seasonality, spatial distribution, and patterns of dispersal,” said Dr. Michael Berumen, director of the Red Sea Research Center and professor of marine science at KAUST.

HIGHLIGHT

An international team of researchers, led by marine scientists at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia and including researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in the US, has performed an extensive study of whale shark movement and residency.

They found the aggregation to be highly seasonal, with sharks being most abundant in April and May, and that many of the sharks returned to the hot spot regularly year after year. The study also shows roughly equal numbers of male and female sharks using the site, something that could be unique to Shib Habil. These characteristics indicate that this site may serve an important function for the wider Indian Ocean population of this rare and endangered species.
“Using the combined dataset, we can show somewhat conclusively that the aggregation meets all of the criteria of a shark nursery. This is particularly relevant given that Shib Habil is the only site in the Indian Ocean to regularly attract large numbers of juvenile females. Growing late-stage adolescents of both sexes into full adulthood is critical for sustaining a species. Management of critical habitats like Shib Habil and other aggregations will likely be vital for future whale shark conservation,” said KAUST graduate Dr. Jesse Cochran, lead author of the study.
There is a combination of factors contributing to the decrease of whale shark populations world-wide, including targeted fishing, bycatch losses due to fisheries, vessel strikes from boat traffic, marine debris, and pollution.