Eight new independent schools to open in Qatar
Qatar's education ministry has announced eight new Independent Schools are to be opened in the next academic year beginning from September 2011, the Peninsula has reported. The ministry also unveiled plans to set up 20 more such schools in the academic year 2012-13.
King set to open Saudi Arabia's university for women
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia will open the kingdom’s university for women on Sunday. (Getty Images)
King Abdullah will on Sunday officially open the new SR20bn university city of Princess Noura Bint Abdul Rahman, the first exclusive campus for women. The university in Riyadh is set for an intake of more than 50,000 women students and the campus has residences for 12,000 women students, 22 academic colleges and six medical colleges. There is also a 700-bed university hospital, along with two sports clubs, a conference center, commercial centers, and primary, intermediate and secondary schools for boys and girls, state news agency SPA reported on Saturday. The campus also has its own 19km train to transport students between facilities and rain channels and tunnels guarding against the threat of flooding. Dr Huda Al-Ameel, the university’s president, said facilities also included a research zone for King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology along with three research centers specializing in nano technology, information technology and biological sciences. She added that the residential area included housing units for families of employees, accommodation for female students, two mosques and recreational facilities. Back in 2008, Saudi Arabia launched a $3.1bn shake-up of its education system, designed to lift standards in the kingdom. The move followed a report by the World Economic Forum on the competitiveness of world economies, in which education was singled out as an area for Saudi Arabia to develop.
Oman, Bahrain sign accords in security and education sectors
GCC member states Oman and Bahrain, reinforcing their growing ties, signed three memoranda of understanding in the fields of education, tourism and security at the end of the fourth session of their joint committee here on Wednesday. Two more in the sectors of higher education and fisheries development and research will be signed later, a statement said. The committee expressed its satisfaction with ‘the higher level’ of bilateral ties and discussed the latest regional and international issues on which they held identical views, the statement added. The MoUs were signed from Oman by Talib bin Miran Al Raisi, Head Economic Affairs at the Foreign Ministry, and for Bahrain by Hamad bin Ahmed Abdulaziz, Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry. Meanwhile, Fouad bin Salman Al Ma’awdeh, Bahraini Ambassador to Oman, said the high level of cooperation achieved by the two countries in the political, security, economic and commercial fields “emphasize the deep-rooted bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries".
Source: Khaleej Times
Algeria to ease primary school program
In a nod to demands from pupils and parents, the Algerian education ministry decided to slim down the school curriculum. Algerian parents used to complain that their children are overwhelmed with schoolwork. With the start of a new school year, students will enjoy reduced lesson timetables, the education ministry announced. Primary school days will now be split into two sessions. The morning session will run from 8 to 11am, with the afternoon session shortened to 1-2:30pm. The weekly timetable will range from 24 to 25 hours compared with the current 30 hours. “The slimmed-down timetable does not mean we are affecting the main subjects taught to children,” Education Minister Aboubakeur Benbouzid said May 12th. “The ad hoc committee is conducting a far-reaching study of the issue, because what is at stake here is our children’s future and the credibility of the education system in Algeria.” The committee in charge of drafting the new curriculum included education directors from wilayas, ministry officials, the director of the national office for examinations and entry competitions and representatives of trade unions. Though the news received a warm response from parents and teachers, some parents have been left wondering what to do with their children during this free time. Education ministry advisor Ahmed Tessa reassured them, saying that pupils will remain on the school site 2:30-3:30pm, where they will be offered a range of cultural and sporting activities. “Since my daughter started school, I’ve felt that she’s been pushed too hard,” Mahdia Terra, a 37-year-old mother, told Magharebia. “The syllabus is overloaded. There’s no room for play; the children’s time is completely taken up with learning and they don’t have a moment to breathe.” “At the end of the day, they’re so tired that they can barely get through their homework,” added Terra, who has an eight-year-old daughter. “They don’t have the time to get involved in out-of-school activities. With this reduction in workload, they’ll have time for a breather, and so shall we." Primary school teacher Mohamed Dali shared the parents’ enthusiasm. “Children are bombarded with information and have no room for leisure,” he said. “They are put under pressure in spite of their age. For a long time now, we’ve been calling for play activities to be introduced into schools.” “A school should not be seen as a place for educational input alone,” he added. “It’s a school for life, and children must be introduced to other experiences there, which can only help them with their learning. We hope we’ll find that children are a little less stressed and better disposed to learn.”