Saudi Arabia prepares for Valentine’s Day

1 / 5
Hearts and flowers are everywhere as Saudi Arabia prepares to celebrate the once ‘haram’ Valentine’s Day tomorrow. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
2 / 5
Hearts and flowers are everywhere as Saudi Arabia prepares to celebrate the once ‘haram’ Valentine’s Day tomorrow. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
3 / 5
Hearts and flowers are everywhere as Saudi Arabia prepares to celebrate the once ‘haram’ Valentine’s Day tomorrow. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
4 / 5
Hearts and flowers are everywhere as Saudi Arabia prepares to celebrate the once ‘haram’ Valentine’s Day tomorrow. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
5 / 5
Hearts and flowers are everywhere as Saudi Arabia prepares to celebrate the once ‘haram’ Valentine’s Day tomorrow. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 13 February 2020

Saudi Arabia prepares for Valentine’s Day

  • Hearts and flowers are everywhere as the Kingdom prepares to celebrate the once ‘haram’ Valentine’s Day tomorrow
  • Saudis are buying extravagant gifts, flowers, cheesy balloons and even the cliched teddy bears for that special person

JEDDAH: Love is in the air and hearts and flowers are everywhere as the Kingdom prepares to celebrate the once “haram” Valentine’s Day tomorrow.

As recently as three years ago it would have been unthinkable — Saudi Arabia’s feared religious police saw to that.

Florists and confectioners used to hide their red roses and heart-shaped chocolate in fear of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV). Restaurant owners even banned birthday or anniversary celebrations on Feb. 14 for fear of arrest or closure.




Hearts and flowers are everywhere as Saudi Arabia prepares to celebrate the once ‘haram’ Valentine’s Day tomorrow. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

A breakthrough came in 2018, when former Makkah CPVPV President Sheikh Ahmed Qasim Al-Ghamdi declared that Valentine’s Day did not contradict Islamic teaching or doctrine. Celebrating love was universal,and not limited to non-Muslims, he said.

Now Saudis are buying extravagant gifts, flowers, cheesy balloons and even the cliched teddy bears for that special person.

To help readers to get the most out of Valentine’s, Arab News has compiled an essential guide. We have advice on romantic getaways, whether you’re on a budget, or ready to splash out on a rented yacht in the Red Sea or a cultural heritage hotel in a palm oasis in the Eastern Province.

There’s also a “his and her” gift guide for every purse, and info on the best places for that romantic meal for two.


Global organizations commend Saudi Arabia’s role in e-learning

Updated 23 October 2020

Global organizations commend Saudi Arabia’s role in e-learning

JEDDAH: Six international organizations have completed two studies on e-learning in the Kingdom and praised its efforts in providing a rapid response, multiple options and continuous improvement during the coronavirus pandemic.
The studies involved the participation of 342,000 respondents and were conducted under the supervision of the Kingdom’s National Center for e-Learning.
The center said that the global organizations completed two comprehensive studies on the experience of public and higher education in Saudi Arabia during the pandemic, with the aim of documenting and studying the reality of the experience and coming up with initiatives to develop e-learning practices in accordance with current global practices and standards.
The studies were conducted with the participation of students, faculty members, teachers, parents and school leaders.
The number of participants in the public education study reached 318,000, while the number of participants in the higher education study reached 24,000.
The first study was prepared by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), with the participation of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Quality Matters (QM), the UNESCO Institute of Information Technologies in Education (IITE), the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA) in the US.
The second study was prepared by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) with the cooperation of the Harvard Graduate School
of Education.
In the studies, reference comparisons were made with more than 193 countries. The two studies showed the Kingdom’s distinction in the diversity of options, including, for example, electronic content and satellite channels available for e-learning in public education.

NUMBER

342k

The studies on e-learning involved the participation of 342,000 respondents and were conducted under the supervision of the Kingdom’s National Center for e-Learning.

The percentage of countries that succeeded in providing these at the national level was only 38 percent.
The study conducted by the OECD and the Harvard Graduate School of Education included a comparison of the Kingdom’s response to education during the COVID-19 pandemic with 37 member states.
The results showed the Kingdom’s progress in 13 out of 16 indicators on the average of
these countries.
The study also revealed that teachers received significant support to overcome obstacles to e-learning.
The study of public education indicated that there was a clear strategy for the Ministry of Education to reopen schools in the Kingdom and address any issues.
OLC hailed the efforts of the Saudi Ministry of Education in dealing with the crisis by providing a variety of options for e-learning, and the quick response to the pandemic and immediate shift to remote instruction.
The two studies recommended 71 proposed development initiatives for public education and 78 proposed development initiatives for higher education.
The National Center for e-Learning is working in coordination with the Ministry of Education to present the initiatives and begin their implementation.
The center announced that the organizations that conducted the studies would publish their results and complete the second phase at the end of the current semester.