Saudi Arabia elected to preside over IAEA committee

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Updated 25 September 2020

Saudi Arabia elected to preside over IAEA committee

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has been elected instead of Iran to head the main committee of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference during its 64th session held currently in Vienna.
Seventy out of 112 countries voted for Saudi Arabia, while 37 abstained.
The differences with Iran over its controversial nuclear program have deprived it of heading the committee, which is responsible for studying the decisions put before the week-long IAEA General Conference that started on Monday.
Iran is also competing with the UAE to get a seat on the Council of IAEA Governors, which is in charge of designing the IAEA general policy for South Asia and the Middle East regions.
In his video address to the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York King Salman said the Kingdom’s hands were extended to Iran in peace with a positive and open attitude over the past decades, but to no avail.
Fadhel Albuainain, an economic expert, told Arab News: “It’s important to exclude Iran from presiding over the committee or any other committee because of its violations of the atomic energy sector and hostility towards the international community in general. I believe the Kingdom has succeeded in snatching this role and excluding Iran from it.”
He said that chairing the IAEA committee is important in terms of the projects submitted to the IAEA General Conference. The Kingdom can play a pivotal role in this regard, especially in terms of coordination with members to achieve the best interests of the agency. On the other hand, the Kingdom is preparing to use civilian nuclear energy, so that chairing the committee will enhance its position in the agency.
He said the Kingdom plays a vital role in the peaceful use of nuclear energy and is about to establish nuclear power reactors which will be used to diversify energy sources instead of relying on oil.
According to Albuainain, the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy is working on implementing the nation’s plans to produce atomic energy, which will help to meet the requirements of national development and cement the Kingdom’s position in the energy sector.
The Kingdom, he added, wants to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and use nuclear energy to diversify the country’s energy mix. This is the declared goal that the Kingdom is working to achieve through partnerships with the Atomic Energy Agency.


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.