Saudi women embrace COVID-19 measures at driving schools

Businesses in the Kingdom are allowed to continue their activities but not without taking all precautions. (ArabsStock)
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Updated 09 August 2020

Saudi women embrace COVID-19 measures at driving schools

  • Students are not allowed to head to class until 15 minutes before it starts in order to monitor the degree of socialization and distancing between them

JEDDAH: Women in Saudi Arabia have been able to resume driving lessons and license applications, but with a few changes as the country eases restrictions and cautiously returns to normality amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

The Kingdom’s return to normality began on June 21 and businesses were allowed to continue their activities, but only by implementing the safety regulations and directives from the Ministry of Interior to ensure everyone’s safety.

Regulations at women’s driving schools include maintaining a minimum 1-meter distance between people in waiting areas and classrooms, providing hand sanitizers, disinfecting the area at least twice a day, checking the temperature of visitors and workers and refusing entry to anyone with a temperature of over 38° C.

There is also the provision for an onsite room to hold people suspected of being infected, and the appointment of a monitoring body to eliminate social gatherings between classes or in waiting areas and parking lots.

For Sahar Al-Shenawi, a deputy director at a corporate communications firm in Jeddah, these precautions could save her father’s life.

“My father is on dialysis and I’m always taking care of him and giving his medication,” she told Arab News. “I was very surprised to see how prepared they were when I returned (to driving school). It made me feel safe.”

Al-Shenawi was asked to show her ID upon arrival and get her temperature checked before entering the building.

“Seats in the waiting hall and classrooms were a meter apart and very clean. The room was also well ventilated. Everyone was wearing a mask, and instructors and employees would tell everyone coming in not to take off their mask for the duration of their stay.”

Students are not allowed to head to class until 15 minutes before it starts in order to monitor the degree of socialization and distancing between them.

Al-Shenawi began her theory classes this week and she noticed that the length of sessions had decreased from two hours to one to ensure students did not spend too much unnecessary time together.

After class, the instructor escorts five students at a time to minimize overcrowding.

“The theory and simulation parts of the course were merged, because the practical sessions are more important,” she said. “Their examination was canceled, while the first hour is to be spent on theory education and the second on simulation practice.” She added that their preparedness had made her feel very comfortable.

“Precautions should be taken from both sides, not only the organization or the places we go to. These precautions are nowadays considered as social etiquette and manners, it shows how much an individual is responsible, aware and cares about the community and the people around him or her,” Al-Shenawi said, adding that she hoped people were careful with themselves and one another once they left their homes.

Bashayer Al-Mahmadi, a health insurance employee from Jeddah, had a similar experience at driving school. She was reassured when she entered the waiting area and saw that adjacent seats were empty, and was relieved by the sight of hand sanitizers at every corner.

“Only four individuals are allowed into the elevators, and social distancing was maintained throughout my visit to the school,” she told Arab News.

Al-Mahmadi recommended that schools ensured that classrooms had hand sanitizers in them, and for gloves to be distributed among students. “I didn’t notice any during my simulation lecture either, and I was a little disappointed.”

 


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.