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Back To School? Saudi Expert Comments On Coronavirus & Education

Schools in Saudi Arabia are set to open on the 30th of August and here's what Saudi educator Hanan Al-Hamad has to say...

With colleges opening their doors on the 30th of August, families in Saudi Arabia are all in 'back to school' mode... All the while insuring the best education, parents also want to safeguard their children's health and minimize the risk of Covid-19 infection. As the pandemic is still rampant in KSA and all around the world, parents are facing an inevitable dilemna: is distance learning the optimal solution or are social distancing measures enough to contain the virus?

Hanan Al-Hamad, who's a Saudi female expert on education and quality maangement, balances both sides of the dilemna.

“The family’s education and financial status, as well as the parents’ technical literacy, will have an impact on each student’s experience with remote education. Moreover, not all parents have the freedom to devote their time to teach their children and follow up with them at home.” Al-Hamad said in a recent interview on Al Arabiya. 

A certified European Foundation for Quality Management trainer and model assessor and a certified KPI practitioner, Al-Hamad has worked hand in hand with the Ministry of Education where she provided strategy training and was part of the jury for the ministry's excellence award. A renowned name in the Kingdom's education sector, she takes credit in having established some of the country's best schools in accordance with the International Baccalaureate program.

She added: “I believe the educational experience should be flexible, and families should have the choice to send their children to school or not, while guaranteeing an equally efficient educational experience for both choices.”

Distance learning could never replace the full potential of classroom learning but the world faces no choice but to adapt to it or work around both. The Saudi Ministry of Education had announced that school openings and curricula will depend on the region's health conditions and number of Covid-19 cases. According to Arab News, each area will be issued a red, orange or green evaluation to indicate one of three scenarios: full in-person attendance, a combination of in-person and online learning, and full-time virtual learning.

For the time being, it seems that a city's Covid-19 status is the strongest variable for parents and schools to prioritize health or education. What do you think?

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