Ministry Introduces Part Of New Curriculum

RIYADH, 15 February 2004 — As part of its educational reform plans, the Kingdom has introduced a portion of its new curriculum. The aim of the reforms by the Ministry of Education is to revise controversial chapters.

“A new contract with a major publishing company will be signed shortly for printing a series of books in different subjects including social science, mathematics and science,” said Dr. Khaled Al-Awwad, deputy minister of education, at the Swiss Education Fair in Riyadh yesterday.

Asked about the revision of the curriculum, Dr. Al-Awwad said various committees had been assigned to write different books and that there was at least one special committee working on each subject.

The deputy minister said the policy to change the educational system was unrelated to the war on terrorism. “Many things are involved in the change including rapid social development, the changing world order, the terrorist attacks and subsequent global changes.” he said.

Some 400,000 teachers have been involved in the reform process. The ministry has issued instructions that the old curriculum is to be phased out and the new one implemented as soon as it is ready.

The Kingdom has spent some SR240 billion on education over the last 25 years. Its expenditure on education is one of the highest in the world — over nine percent of GDP compared to the world average of only 5.08 percent.

Along with Dr. Al-Awwad, Swiss Ambassador Dominik M. Adler was also present at the education fair. The fair provided an opportunity to a number of international Swiss schools to promote their programs and institutions in Saudi Arabia. The fair has also been organized in the other five GCC states.

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