Education plays key role in fight against extremism
Saudi Arabia has been moving toward a knowledge-based economy by bringing about a qualitative change in the teaching methods, improving its education infrastructure, and giving scholarships to students.
Evaluation of education on a regular basis is also a key component of this process, said Naif Al-Roomi, governor of the newly formed Public Education Evaluation Commission (PEEC) at its first press conference on Monday.
Al-Roomi shed light on PEEC’s future plans as well as its ongoing projects for this academic year. He also discussed various strategic programs for raising the quality of public education.
An overhaul of the educational system has become necessary amid reports that some deviant ideology is being taught in public schools, where books with objectionable content have been prescribed. This syllabus should also meet the needs of the Saudi markets in terms of providing decent jobs to young Saudis.
“PEEC will be playing an important role in foiling extremist ideology, through highlighting moderate thoughts. We will work to keep education away from that ideology,” the governor elaborated, adding that the PEEC’s role in terms of the syllabus or the general frame work of the commission is also to ensure that education is under the government’s moderate policy that fights extremism.
“Education in general and public education, in particular, is the cornerstone of the renaissance for national progress,” he observed. “It is the front face of civilization that reflects the extent of progress and the pursuit of economic transformation through a knowledge-based economy. It is also one of the most important foundations of the national development strategy,” he noted.
According to the official, Saudi Arabia has only 15 local specialists in the sector making it necessary for PEEC to forge partnerships with international experts from Finland, Poland, United Kingdom, the United Sates of America and Canada.
Introducing the new commission, Al-Roomi described PEEC as a government agency with a legal independent status, administratively and financially linked directly to the chairman of the Council of Ministers. According to him the actual operation of the PEEC started with the appointment of the governor in September 2013 with a SR100 million budget.
“It is part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to achieve higher levels of economic development by adopting a knowledge-based society under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah,” he added.
According to him, Saudi Arabia has achieved great strides toward achieving that vision by developing high caliber human capital capable of creating the desired development through quality education and creating an environment conducive to the elevation of academic standards.