3.5 million students return to school in Saudi Arabia

Schools will offer art activities, children’s theater, cultural and entertainment workshops and distribute gifts to reassure the returning students. (SPA file photo)
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Schools will offer art activities, children’s theater, cultural and entertainment workshops and distribute gifts to reassure the returning students. (SPA file photo)
3.5 million students return to school in Saudi Arabia
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Schools will offer art activities, children’s theater, cultural and entertainment workshops and distribute gifts to reassure the returning students. (SPA file photo)
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Updated 23 January 2022

3.5 million students return to school in Saudi Arabia

Schools will offer art activities, children’s theater, cultural and entertainment workshops and distribute gifts to reassure the returning students. (SPA file photo)
  • Online education facilities will remain available for children with serious health conditions that prevent them from returning to the classroom

RIYADH: More than 3.5 million students returned to school on Sunday in over 13,000 primary schools and 4,800 kindergartens across the Kingdom, almost two years after they closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The resumption of in-person teaching for the under-12s had been postponed from October last year.

Schools in Saudi Arabia closed classrooms and switched to online learning soon after the pandemic began in early 2020.

In preparation for the long-awaited return of students, senior school officials across the Kingdom have implemented a program to prepare pupils, parents and teachers for a safe resumption of classes.

The program focuses on reassuring students and parents about the return and face-to-face learning and reminding them of the importance of adhering to safety protocols while in school.

The resumption of classroom-based teaching has also prioritized giving parents a platform to ask questions and share concerns, and motivating students to study and participate in activities.

For the first few weeks after schools reopen, the program will focus on psychological efforts to help students get back into routine.

Schools will offer art activities, children’s theater, cultural and entertainment workshops and distribute gifts to reassure the returning students.

Schools will also provide 22 cultural, sports and awareness activities to give students plenty of opportunities to get physically active again after a hiatus of almost 2 years.

Online education facilities will remain available for children with serious health conditions that prevent them from returning to the classroom.


First for Saudi as domestic flight takes off with all-female crew

The number of Saudi female pilots has grown recently. (Supplied)
The number of Saudi female pilots has grown recently. (Supplied)
Updated 3 min 42 sec ago

First for Saudi as domestic flight takes off with all-female crew

The number of Saudi female pilots has grown recently. (Supplied)
  • Saudi women have proved themselves in many careers that men dominated for a long time including aviation-related positions

JEDDAH: Saudi low-cost airline flyadeal have announced the first domestic flight in the Kingdom with a fully female crew, most of them Saudis.

The announcement was made on the airline’s official Twitter account @flyadeal on Friday: “For the first time in Saudi aviation history! #flyadeal operated the first flight with an all-female crew, the majority of which are Saudis by the newest A320 aircraft. Flight 117, flew from #Riyadh to #Jeddah”

Saudi women have proved themselves in many careers that men dominated for a long time including aviation-related positions.

Flight 117, with a crew of seven, was co-piloted by Yara Jan, 23, who is also the youngest Saudi female pilot.

Jan told Arab News that she was extremely proud to be taking part in such a historic moment in aviation for Saudi women.

“As a Saudi woman trying to lead my country with a proud step it was a moment of pride and joy.”

Jan graduated from flight school in Florida, US, in 2019, and joined Flyadeal a year ago.

She said that being the co-pilot means assisting the pilot in many key role tasks such as navigation and completing many checklists.

Jan is aware of how important this is for young Saudi women.

“Although being a Saudi woman pilot is new, it is not impossible for our generation, especially with the backing that we are receiving from our beloved country and our respected leaders, who have supported me a lot to become the youngest female pilot in a Saudi airline. I will always be pleased to have the chance to make a positive change.”

The number of Saudi female pilots has grown recently. Three names stand out: Hanadi Zakaria Al-Hindi, the first female pilot to fly with a Saudi commercial pilot license; Rawia Al-Rifi the first to fly an Airbus A320 internationally as a civil aircraft from the UAE; and co-pilot Yasmin Al-Maimani, who was the first woman to co-pilot a commercial plane in the Kingdom.


City Walk zone a big hit among Jeddah Season visitors

Anime Village zone of City Walk is hosting more than 300 events, including concerts featuring Japanese bands. (Supplied)
Anime Village zone of City Walk is hosting more than 300 events, including concerts featuring Japanese bands. (Supplied)
Updated 21 May 2022

City Walk zone a big hit among Jeddah Season visitors

Anime Village zone of City Walk is hosting more than 300 events, including concerts featuring Japanese bands. (Supplied)
  • The Fashion Village carries international and local brands, as well as a live graffiti station where artists can paint on the wall together

JEDDAH: Jeddah Season visitors are excited for the City Walk zone, which is open with nine villages to suit all tastes and age groups: The Entry Village, Food Hall, Fashion Village, Splash, Horror Village, Jeddah Live, Adventure, Waterfall and the Anime Village.

The Entry Village and most of the City Walk are steampunk-themed.

The Food Hall offers international fare from Los Angeles-based Top Round and Italy-themed Prince of Venice Pasta and Pizza to Hong Kong cake shop Butter.

The Fashion Village carries international and local brands, as well as a live graffiti station where artists can paint on the wall together. It also features a DJ station with famous DJs playing music on a top-quality sound system for an unforgettable experience.

World-renowned artist Sara Shakeel’s work “Majlistic,” exhibiting historical Saudi culture and traditions, will also be featured at the Fashion Village.

Saudi visitor Abdullah Al-Thumani, 22, said that the zone was a completely new experience for the people of Jeddah.

“It’s a very special experience. I attended Riyadh Season, and this is really matching up to what I experienced in Riyadh,” he told Arab News.

“I liked the Fashion Village the most because they feature items you can’t find in regular stores,” he added.

Russian performer Uliana Averina said: “I came with a group from Russia, and we perform here at this festival in Jeddah. We are happy to be here and to participate in such a great event because everything here is really well done and gorgeous

“I see how happy people are here, and we like to interact with them,” she added.

The performer said she enjoyed the Saudi audience’s warm interaction.

“People here are very open, and they approach you first to interact with you. Even the kids come up to us and want to give us a high five. It’s so nice,” she said.

Splash is an aquatic village that has everything from water guns and a water drum show to rides and river rafting.

The Horror Village is for lovers of all things spooky. Brave visitors can enjoy abandoned houses, escape rooms, interactive ghost-themed exhibitions and more.

Jeddah Live takes visitors into the world of performances, with international and Arab theater shows such as “Bikhosoos Ba’ad Al-Nas” (“About Some People”), starring some of the Kingdom’s biggest television names, such as Nasser Al-Qassabi.

It also features a karaoke cube, the car and motorcycle show “Hot Wheels,” and Slime Planet for kids to enjoy.

Adventure is for adrenaline junkies, featuring a 150-meter-high hot air balloon ride, bungee jumping, a Ferris wheel and more, while the Anime Village is hosting more than 300 events, including concerts featuring Japanese bands.

The annual Jeddah Season festival aims to highlight the city’s rich heritage and culture through a total of 2,800 activities in nine zones over the event period.

Held under the slogan “Our Lovely Days,” the second Jeddah Season follows on from the success of Riyadh Season, which recorded more than 15 million visits over five months.

The festival season offers 70 interactive experiences, more than 60 recreational activities, seven Arab and two international plays, marine events, a circus, four international exhibitions and a host of other services for families.

 


Saudi ‘smart’ census ticks all the right boxes with online option

AN photoThe Kingdom’s fifth national census will provide detailed information about the population of the Kingdom. (AN photo)
The Kingdom’s fifth national census will provide detailed information about the population of the Kingdom. (AN photo)
Updated 21 May 2022

Saudi ‘smart’ census ticks all the right boxes with online option

AN photoThe Kingdom’s fifth national census will provide detailed information about the population of the Kingdom. (AN photo)
  • Official warns of fines for those who ignore ‘mandatory’ survey

RIYADH: Saudi citizens and residents will be able to take part in the Kingdom’s 2022 census via their computer or smartphone following the launch of an online questionnaire.

General Authority for Statistics official spokesperson Mohammed bin Saad Al-Dakhini said that the electronic option is designed to “smooth the way” and make it easier for people to respond to the survey from May 10-25.

Al-Dakhini said that participation in the census is mandatory, and those who disrupt census work or fail to give the required information will face financial penalties.

The GASTAT spokesperson said that taking part in the census is a “national duty and a responsibility shared by society,” adding that the 2022 survey will help prepare for a better future by providing reliable data for the development of public services, including education and health.

The Kingdom’s fifth national census will provide detailed information about the population of the Kingdom, including ages, nationalities and the distribution of income across regions, and the health status of people living in cities compared with those in rural areas.

HIGHLIGHT

General Authority for Statistics official spokesperson Mohammed bin Saad Al-Dakhini said that participation in the census is mandatory, and those who disrupt census work or fail to give the required information will face financial penalties.

Kiosks will be provided at 29 shopping centers across the Kingdom to offer help with the census questionnaire. More than 30,000 field staff are also on standby to visit people’s homes and collect the required information.

Census participants can also complete the form and have their queries answered through the unified toll-free number 9200 20081, as well as the authority’s accounts on social media channels.

Those wanting to complete the census form electronically through their smartphones or computers can visit the online portal via https://survey.saudicensus.sa/ar

The Saudi census is conducted every 10 years by GASTAT, with the 2022 survey playing an important role in the nation’s Vision 2030 development and diversification planning.

More than 25 government agencies, including the ministries of interior, health and education, and the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence, are involved in the census operation.

Preliminary estimates put the Saudi population in mid-2020 at more than 35 million. The previous census processes took place in 1974, 1992, 2004, and 2010.

The most recent survey showed that the country’s population had risen to more than 27 million, with almost 7 million people in the Makkah region, the most populous of the country’s 13 administrative regions.

Many countries conduct a comprehensive census every 10 years to obtain up-to-date, accurate and detailed data about the population, including its geographical distribution, and social and economic characteristics.

Accurate data allows officials, planners and politicians to allocate budgets more effectively and develop comprehensive strategies that can help keep pace with urban development. It also aids efforts to plan for future needs based on expected population growth, contribute to development plans and provide vital public services such as education, healthcare and transport.


Saudi delegation meets Congolese president in Brazzaville

Saudi delegation meets Congolese president in Brazzaville. (Supplied)
Saudi delegation meets Congolese president in Brazzaville. (Supplied)
Updated 21 May 2022

Saudi delegation meets Congolese president in Brazzaville

Saudi delegation meets Congolese president in Brazzaville. (Supplied)
  • Nguesso expressed his country's full support for the Kingdom’s request to host Expo 2030 in Riyadh, with Kattan expressing the Saudi government’s gratitude for this backing

BRAZZAVILLE: A Saudi delegation led by Royal Court adviser Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Kattan visited Congo and met President Denis Sassou Nguesso on Saturday.

During the reception, Kattan conveyed the greetings and wishes of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the government and people of Congo for their further advancement and prosperity.

The meeting discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and ways to support and develop them in all areas. It also reviewed regional and international events of common interest, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Nguesso expressed his country's full support for the Kingdom’s request to host Expo 2030 in Riyadh, with Kattan expressing the Saudi government’s gratitude for this backing. He also said that the Kingdom would offer the world an exceptional exhibition.

On Friday, the Saudi delegation also visited countries in the southwest and east of Africa. They met Namibian President Hage Geingob, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye.

 


Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Absi, director of the media and corporate communications at the Saudi Falcons Club

Abdulrahman Al-Absi
Abdulrahman Al-Absi
Updated 21 May 2022

Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Absi, director of the media and corporate communications at the Saudi Falcons Club

Abdulrahman Al-Absi

Abdulrahman Al-Absi has been the director of the media and corporate communications department at the Saudi Falcons Club since 2020.
Al-Absi is also currently the official broadcaster of the King Abdulaziz Falconry Festival where he first started working in 2018.
The club aims to preserve Saudi falconry culture and heritage, creating awareness and reserves for nurturing the falcon population in the Kingdom.
Al-Absi was the head of sports correspondents in 2017 and 2018 at KSA Sports TV, also known as Riyadiya TV.
Before officially joining Riyadiya TV in 2011, he first worked as a program presenter of the “Before the Game” segment on the channel in 2009.  Al-Absi has been covering matches and finals for all sports competitions on the channel since 2011.
He was the official presenter of the Crown Prince Camel Festival in 2018 and 2019, as well as the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival in 2019. He covered numerous global sports events such as the opening of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, both held in Brazil.
Al-Absi also covered the 2017 Islamic Games in Azerbaijan and the 2019 AFC Champions League Final in Tokyo.
In 2018, he joined the Saudi national football team delegation to the World Cup in Russia.
Al-Absi earned his bachelor’s degree in public relations and media from King Saud University, Riyadh, in September 2010. He also completed his master’s degree in digital media from KSU’s college of arts in February 2016.
Al-Absi went through professional training during his career to hone his skills. He received training for professional sports TV reporting from the Prince Ahmed bin Salman Applied Media Academy, the Saudi Broadcasting Authority and the Saudi Sports Media Federation. 
He earned a certificate in information technology from Cambridge and is also certified from the e-government program “Yesser,” which enables the Kingdom’s digital transformation.