RIYADH: Minister of Education Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh has praised the efforts of Saudi Arabia in protecting children from abuse, neglect, discrimination and exploitation. Speaking on the occasion of International Children’s Day on Wednesday, Nov. 20, Al-Asheikh said that the Kingdom sought to provide a safe and positive environment for children to develop their skills and abilities and to protect them psychologically and physically.
“The Ministry of Education is at the forefront of the state institutions entrusted with the care of children, ensuring their right to education, and providing them with a positive and appropriate environment before joining primary schools and completing their education,” he said.
Al-Asheikh said that the ministry had launched several initiatives and programs for all stages of childhood in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which aims to improve the quality of education and provide every child with the best opportunities.
The National Family Safety Program reflected the goals of the Kingdom to ensure the rights and protection of children and the implementation of the Early Childhood Initiative this year was one of the most important projects of the ministry. The enrolment of children in schools rose to 21 percent from the previous 17 percent. This increase reflects the leadership’s keenness to empower children to their right to education, develop their abilities and enhance learning outcomes.
Al-Asheikh said that the launch of the “virtual kindergarten” on Wednesday would give children the opportunity to simulate the experience of kindergartens. It would include educational videos, stories, games and interactive activities, in addition to guidance and awareness messages, as well as assessment tools to help parents to support their child while learning from home. It is also a way to help families not able to enrol their children in nearby schools to benefit from a productive and developmentally useful virtual interaction.
The minister said that the approval of the establishment of the Regional Center for Childhood Studies, under the chairmanship of the Ministry of Education, is a new asset in the Kingdom’s efforts in supporting childhood through the creation of a platform for the preparation of studies, researches, programs, projects and other initiatives related to children locally, regionally and internationally.
The Kingdom is working on collecting information, providing consultations, enriching knowledge, raising awareness on children’s rights and localizing development experiences.
The ministry has signed a memorandum of understanding with UNESCO’s Regional Center for Quality and Excellence in Education to support enhancing the quality of early childhood education and creating an international model of the Kingdom’s early childhood center.