JEDDAH: Saudi students were delighted on the first day of this academic year to receive new, high-quality textbooks that focus on national pride. The new textbooks were organized after the Saudi Education Ministry asked the King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archives (Darah) to improve schoolbooks.
According to Darah, it took the foundation four months to produce 15 textbooks with over 2,700 pages. Darah pointed out that their production included history and geography schoolbooks for secondary schools. The production also included exciting electronic materials that aim to increase students’ pride in their nation.
Former spokesman for the ministry, Mubarak Al-Osaimi, told Saudi TV channel Al-Ekhbariya that the schoolbooks are always subject to change and correction. According to Al-Osaimi, the ministry revises and updates the contents of its public school curricula for several reasons. It always receives feedback from field workers, such as teachers and supervisors. Some changes happen due to inaccuracies, while others are meant to help teachers get the best way to introduce topics.
“One of the reasons why schoolbooks are modified is to develop the educational curriculum in its comprehensive concept to respond to modern scientific and technical developments,” he added.
Retired history teacher Ahmed Al-Ghamdi told Arab News that we cannot have a good future unless we have robust education.
“Updating schoolbooks or reforming education should continue so that we can have a better education system. We should always revise our curricula in a way that keeps it in full compliance with the needs and changes of the current time, which is witnessing a tremendous information revolution,” he said.
In 2007, a royal decree to develop public education was issued. The decision included an approval to start the King Abdullah Project for General Education Development, the largest project in the development of public education in Saudi Arabia.
It was planned to cover the development of mathematics, science studies and the general curriculum, changes to the secondary education system and the construction of new school buildings.
The then-deputy education minister for planning and development and director-general of the project, Naif Al-Roumi, said that the government had allocated SR10 billion ($2.6 billion) from previous budget surpluses for building schools.
Part of the change was introducing the Chinese language at all stages of education in schools and universities across the Kingdom. The introduction was made during a meeting between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and a Chinese delegation in Beijing, in a bid to strengthen cooperation and deepen partnership between the countries.