KSA switches to Gregorian calendar

Banks are prepared for the change.
Updated 03 October 2016

KSA switches to Gregorian calendar

RIYADH: Salaries, allowances and other payments to public servants will now be paid according to the Gregorian calendar in order to be aligned with the country’s fiscal year, according to a recent decision by the Council of Ministers.
On Wednesday the Cabinet agreed to switch from the Hijri calendar for payment of salaries, wages, bonuses and allowances to all civil sector employees.
The decision to switch from the lunar-based Hijri calendar to the solar-based Gregorian calendar was effective Oct. 1 and brought the government sector in line with the payment of wages in the private sector.
The government move evoked a mixed reaction.
Concerns were expressed about the banking network’s ability to cover all cash withdrawals on the first day that salaries are paid. Not only will this be an unprecedented situation in the history of the country, but it will also coincide with the date of deposit of the salaries of private sector employees.
According to the Sabq.org online portal, while concerns have also been raised about the effects on shopping operations on the first day of salary deposits, a financial analyst at Bank Albilad, Turki Fadaak, reassured the public of the reliability and absorptive capacity of the banking system and its ability to deal with the change.
“I do not think that the shift to the Gregorian calendar will have any impact on banking systems and operations,” he said.
He noted that the population of Saudi Arabia is a little over 30 million, a figure that cannot be compared to some developed countries which have populations far beyond that and yet experience no problems.
He said there was a sufficient number of ATMs in the Saudi market and that they would be able to cope with the rush of withdrawals if that happens.
As to whether he believes restricting loan operations to a single day by banks will affect banks’ performance in the 29 days that follow the payment of public and private sector employees, he said: “On the contrary, it will lead to greater efficiency in the use of revenues and standardization.”
Faisal Al-Zahrani, a former public servant who was employed in a ministry, said that this was a new adjustment made by the government in order to rationalize its budgeted expenditures. After the payment of the first month’s salary, payments will automatically be adjusted, he said.
Naif Al-Rasheed, a senior journalist in Riyadh, told Arab News that the new system comes in the context of the government’s rationalization program.
“The move is also seen as a positive gesture to serve the interests of the citizens,” he said.
Reacting to the decision, Mohammed Zeyad, a public relations executive, said the shift to the Gregorian calendar was in response to the decision made by the government earlier this week as part of spending cuts.
He added that some of his friends working in the government sector were concerned that under the new decision, they would lose 11 days of payment.
The Hijri calendar is made up of 12 months of 29 or 30 days, depending on the sighting of the moon. The Hijri year has 354 days, 11 days shorter than the Gregorian year which is made up of 12 months of 30 and 31 days, totaling 365 days in a year.


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.