Saudi education ministry dampens down Al-Hilal celebrations

Saudi fans cheering for the Al-Hilal during the Saudi team's match with Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds on Sunday. (AN photo by Basher Saleh)
Updated 25 November 2019

Saudi education ministry dampens down Al-Hilal celebrations

  • Asir governor's request for region's schools to let students leave early and watch game rejected
  • Schools must stay away from such events, or else in the future other team supporters will be expect the same treatment

RIYADH: The streets of Riyadh were ablaze with celebrations after the Saudi football team Al-Hilal beat Urawa Red Diamonds 2-0 early Sunday in the second leg of the AFC Champions League in Japan, bringing the aggregate result to 3-0. However, the ministry of education was concerned.

The governor of the Asir region, Prince Turki bin Talal, instructed education directors in the region that schools allow students leave early so they could watch the match, a spokesman for the Emirate of Asir province said.

However, the ministry of education did not approve.

The Ministry of Education spokesperson, Ebtesam Al-Shehri, tweeted, “The Ministry of Education considers that educational institutions are vital systems of society, with educational messages that do not fit their involvement in the competitions of sports clubs.”

In a letter she wrote that education must stay away from these events, or else in the future other team supporters will be expect the same treatment.

Nonetheless, many parents kept their children at home or picked them up early to watch the match. “My son is a pure Hilaly in and out. I told him I’d pick him up from school early, but he didn’t believe me and didn’t want to miss out on watching the game. He was absent for the day,” said Um Abdulrahman, mother of a 7th grader.

Celebrations and festivities alike lit the country, with mass celebrations in the capital celebrating the victory. Cars honked with the Al-Hilal flags waving and drove through the streets with cheers and songs blasting through the windows.

General Entertainment Authority Chairman Turki Al Sheikh said in a tweet: “Tonight 50% discount to enter the Boulevard and all cafes, restaurants, cinema and everything inside the Boulevard on the occasion of the victory of Al-Hilal. Fireworks at 9 p.m. Congratulations!”


Saudi Arabia’s taxis go green

Updated 16 min 14 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s taxis go green

  • The newly implemented system states that vehicles can only become licensed taxis if they have operated for less than five years
  • The taxis will be equipped with smart maps, free Wi-Fi, and a mobile app service that will hail the nearest taxi

JEDDAH: The minister of transport and chairman of the Public Transport Authority (PTA), Saleh Al-Jasser, launched a new, modern taxi project at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh on Wednesday.
As a result of collaboration between the PTA and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), taxis in the Kingdom, as well as gaining a new look and becoming more environmentally friendly, will now be equipped with electronic meter and payment facilities, as well as a supervised fare system.
Rumaih Al-Rumaih, president of the PTA said: “These new taxis are equipped with the latest technologies and features, and are aligned with public transportation systems.”
The launch is only one of numerous developments that aim to improve transportation, raise the quality of service for citizens and residents, and provide job opportunities in the Kingdom, added Al-Rumaih.
The newly implemented system states that vehicles can only become licensed taxis if they have operated for less than five years.
The green vehicles will be monitored and tracked to document quality of service and driver efficiency, equipped with screens that support both Arabic and English speakers in order to calculate fares, host driver information and provide a means to communicate with a command center.
They will be equipped with smart maps, free Wi-Fi, and a mobile app service that will hail the nearest taxi.
The new taxis will be appearing around major city airports, before becoming accessible on a larger scale over time as more taxis are licensed.