Saudi Arabia, UK discuss boosting educational partnership

Saudi Arabia, UK discuss boosting educational partnership
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Education Yousef Al-Benyan participated in roundtable meetings involving representatives from the Kingdom and British universities. (SPA)
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Updated 06 December 2023
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Saudi Arabia, UK discuss boosting educational partnership

Saudi Arabia, UK discuss boosting educational partnership
  • The Saudi education minister notes importance in strengthening ongoing strategic partnership between the two countries in the field of education

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Education Yousef Al-Benyan has participated in roundtable meetings involving representatives from the Kingdom and British universities, the Saudi Press Agency said on Tuesday.

A meeting was held at the ministry’s headquarters in Riyadh in the presence of the British Prime Minister’s Special Representative to Saudi Arabia on Education Steve Smith, university leaders and representatives from the two countries.

The education minister spoke of the role of roundtable meetings in his opening speech, noting their importance in strengthening the ongoing strategic partnership between the two countries in the field of education, which began in 2018 when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a partnership.

Al-Benyan said: “Our strategic partnership focuses on six main areas, which include building a stronger and deeper partnership in the field of education; supporting the professional development of Saudi educators and enhancing their knowledge, skills and abilities; as well as enhancing cooperation and partnerships in the field of university education, including research cooperation, student scholarships, and transnational education.

“The educational partnership with the United Kingdom aims to increase the participation of the British private education sector in Saudi education, establish British schools and universities, address skills gaps, train healthcare professionals, and support the development of education, in line with the ambition of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.”

Sharing policies relating to special educational needs and disabilities, and curriculum development would be part of the process, he added.

Al-Benyan stressed the importance of working within the partnership to open two British universities in the Kingdom by 2025, and to activate student exchange programs in Saudi universities to ensure that Saudi students had access to the latest knowledge and practical training to enhance opportunities for researchers from both countries while establishing joint research projects.

The work program of the roundtable meetings has focused on education within the UK’s framework for science and technology; investment in university education in the Kingdom; and the Saudi Innovative Educational City initiative.

In addition, bilateral cooperation in the field of research and innovation; a review of national research, development and innovation in the Kingdom and its strategic directions; as well as the role of the British Council in supporting university educational cooperation between the two countries by holding bilateral meetings between the Saudi universities and their British counterparts have also been looked at.

Meanwhile, the Leaders Development Institute has signed a declaration of intent with Loughborough University in England to strengthen ties between the two countries to contribute to the development of the sports sector and lead to equality and mutual respect.

The agreement will secure cooperation in various fields, including research and development, professional development programs for sports professions, and exchange of technical and administrative expertise.

LDI Director General Dr. Mezna Al-Marzooqi and Prof. Chris Linton, Loughborough University’s deputy vice chancellor, signed the agreement, while Badr Al-Kadi, the deputy sports minister, and British Ambassador to the Kingdom Neil Crompton attended the signing ceremony.

“Loughborough University is bound to improve the professional development programs of sports professions and occupations in the Kingdom, support the institute in the field of research and development, and strengthen the capabilities of training providers in the sector,” the SPA said.

King Abdulaziz University also held a scientific meeting with representatives of the British universities, which was organized by the university’s Department of International Cooperation Agreements, in coordination with the British Council.

The meeting discussed aspects of cooperation and partnerships in the educational and research fields.

President of Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University Dr. Ahmed bin Salem Al-Amri also received the British universities delegation on Monday.

The visiting delegation included representatives from 18 British universities, who discussed ways to enhance scientific visits, vocational training, and ways to exchange scientific and research experiences between the two countries through the use of research laboratories and dual certificates.


Saudi cultural center to launch reading, anti-desertification project

Saudi cultural center to launch reading, anti-desertification project
Updated 26 min 55 sec ago
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Saudi cultural center to launch reading, anti-desertification project

Saudi cultural center to launch reading, anti-desertification project
  • Ithra in Dhahran hosts event which includes Alexandria and Rabat
  • Goal is to read 500,000 pages and plant 5,000 trees in 3 Arab cities

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture launches Thursday a three-day reading marathon and anti-desertification project, that will take place in three Arab cities.

Also known as Ithra, the center will host the event in cooperation with the Library of Alexandria and the Moroccan National Library. It will be held simultaneously in the Kingdom’s city of Dhahran, Alexandria in Egypt and Rabat in Morocco, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

The center is promoting reading, especially in public libraries, and all three cities will ensure a tree is planted for every 100 pages read.

The aim is to have participants read 500,000 pages and plant 5,000 trees.

To plant the trees, the Ithra center is working with the National Center for Vegetation Development to Combat Desertification in Saudi Arabia, and authorities in Egypt and Morocco.

Each reader will receive a commemorative medal for participating.

Bronze medals will be awarded to those who read 100 pages, silver for 200 pages, and gold for 1,000 pages.

The first edition of the marathon was held inside the Ithra library, achieving 162,000 pages read and 1,622 trees planted. The second edition was also held in the Ithra library and two libraries in Riyadh and Tabuk, with 422,000 pages read and 4,222 trees planted.

The planting of seedlings took place in October in the Al-Ahsa National Park with the participation of several readers.


Saudi crown prince meets with Ukraine president in Riyadh

Saudi crown prince meets with Ukraine president in Riyadh
Updated 31 min 28 sec ago
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Saudi crown prince meets with Ukraine president in Riyadh

Saudi crown prince meets with Ukraine president in Riyadh
  • Saudi-Ukrainian relations, latest developments in Ukrainian-Russian war were discussed
  • Crown prince stressed Kingdom’s support for all international efforts aimed at resolving crisis

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky in Riyadh on Tuesday.

During their meeting, aspects of Saudi-Ukrainian relations were reviewed, and the latest developments in the Ukrainian-Russian war were discussed, Saudi Press Agency reported. 

The crown prince stressed the Kingdom’s support for all international endeavors and efforts aimed at resolving the crisis and achieving peace, and continuing efforts to alleviate the humanitarian repercussions of the war. 

Zelensky wrote on social media platform X that he would discuss prisoners of war and deportees with the crown prince.

“The Kingdom’s leadership has already contributed to the release of our people. I am confident that this meeting will also yield results,” he wrote. 

The crown prince was involved in securing the release of 10 foreign prisoners captured in Ukraine in September 2022 which then enabled a major prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine.

The president added that he will discuss “promising areas of economic cooperation and Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Ukraine’s reconstruction” during his visit. 

Zelensky left Riyadh later on Tuesday evening and was seen off by deputy govenor of Riyadh Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz.


Saudi, Qatari communications ministers discuss joint initiatives to support growth of digital economy

Saudi, Qatari communications ministers discuss joint initiatives to support growth of digital economy
Updated 28 February 2024
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Saudi, Qatari communications ministers discuss joint initiatives to support growth of digital economy

Saudi, Qatari communications ministers discuss joint initiatives to support growth of digital economy
  • The parties discussed ways to expand the strategic partnership between the countries in digital government

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Alswaha on Tuesday met his Qatari counterpart Mohammed Al-Mannai in Doha, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The parties discussed ways to expand the strategic partnership between the countries in digital government and the digital economy, and techniques to enhance the innovation and entrepreneurship system.

“This is in line with the aspirations of the Saudi-Qatari Coordination Council to support and strengthen the partnership between the two brotherly countries,” the SPA’s statement said.

The meeting was attended by several leaders of national technology companies in the fields of business, digital transformation, and digital health solutions, along with other representatives from both parties.


Saudi Cabinet approves new railway law

Saudi Cabinet approves new railway law
Updated 28 February 2024
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Saudi Cabinet approves new railway law

Saudi Cabinet approves new railway law

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet approved on Tuesday new regulations that govern the railways in the Kingdom.

The decision “supports achieving the goals of the National Transport & Logistics Strategy, and contributes to the governance of the railway sector and regulates the relationship between the infrastructure owner, the operator and the beneficiary,” Minister of Transport and Logistic Services Saleh Al-Jasser said.

The new regulations will ensure that railway services providers continue to apply the highest standards and requirements for safety and quality, and will develop policies and legislation that ensure fair competitiveness, the minister added.

In 2023, the number of railways passengers exceeded 11.2 million, a 55% increase compared to 2022. Trains also transported 24.7 million tons of goods and minerals, an increase of 6% during the same year.

Al-Jasser stated that regulations will contribute to encouraging use and ensure the protection of railways, their infrastructure, and facilities in accordance with internationally approved standards. 

The new law also specified penalties to protect railway tracks from violations and damage to the network.

The minister thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for approving the new law.


Saudi Cabinet calls for an end to escalation of military operations in Gaza

Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet held a meeting in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet held a meeting in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 27 February 2024
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Saudi Cabinet calls for an end to escalation of military operations in Gaza

Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet held a meeting in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet called for an end to the escalation in military operations in Gaza and the dire humanitarian crisis that it is causing, Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

The Cabinet also reviewed the outcomes of the Kingdom’s participation in a two-day meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Rio de Janeiro and its vision regarding the group’s role in dealing with existing international tensions and restructuring global governance.

The Cabinet also reiterated the Kingdom’s support for regional and international efforts to ban all types of weapons of mass destruction as was expressed during its participation in the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

The Cabinet also praised the outcomes of a recent Arab Interior Ministers’ Council held in Tunisia and stressed the Kingdom’s constant keenness to support and enhance joint Arab action in all fields in a way that contributes to establishing the foundations of security, stability, and prosperity in the region.