Women teach young boys for the first time in Saudi public schools

Women will teach 13.5 percent of young boys in Saudi primary schools for the first time, improving the quality of education and making more efficient use of space in school buildings. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 03 September 2019

Women teach young boys for the first time in Saudi public schools

  • Early childhood is the most important stage in building a child’s personality, says Suaad Al-Mansour

JEDDAH: Female teachers will educate boys in 1,460 state-run schools across the Kingdom for the first time.

“With this project, the Ministry of Education aims to improve the efficiency of the educational system and ensure that every child has access to quality education around the Kingdom,” Suaad Al-Mansour, assistant director general of education in Jeddah, told Arab News.




(AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)

Al-Mansour said the Early Childhood Schools Project included kindergartens for boys and girls between aged 4-5 years-old and the first three primary grades for students between 6-8 years.

She said there will be no mixed classes in primary grades. “There are separate classrooms, toilets, and other facilities for the young boys and girls.”

IN NUMBERS

1,460 - Early Education Schools 

3,313 - Classrooms for 83,000 kindergarten students 

3,483 - Classrooms for 81,000 early childhood education students 

13.5% of young male students will be taught by women




(AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)

Besides improving the quality of education, the ministry aims to increase space utilization efficiency and take full advantage of public school buildings.

According to the ministry, women will teach 13.5 percent of young boys, saving $533 million from the education budget in space alone.

Moreover, the ministry also aspires to increase children’s enrollment in public kindergarten schools versus private schools by 21 percent this year.

During the summer vacation, the ministry set up 3,313 kindergarten classes to accommodate 83,000 children.

Al-Mansour noted that early childhood is the most important stage in building a child’s personality, and said a female teacher is more approachable and less intimidating for young boys at that stage.

 

“This project will bridge the gap young boys used to face after moving from kindergarten to primary school. The classes at early childhood schools are specially designed to fit their needs at this age, and being taught by women will give them a more fruitful learning experience.”

Many private schools around the Kingdom assigned primary teaching to female teachers decades ago. The General Department of Education in Jeddah Region has held workshops with leaders in the private sector to share their experience with public institutions.




(AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)

For the first time, female teachers are teaching young boys in 1,460 government schools across the Kingdom. Women will teach 13.5 percent of young male pupils, saving SR2 billion from the education budget in space alone

Arab News visited the 177th Primary School in Jeddah and met with the staff and young pupils.

Principal Rajhah Al-Jihani told Arab News that she was impressed with the community’s awareness of the importance of the Early Childhood Project.

FASTFACT

 

“In our school, we have a total of 6 classes for young boys, two classes for each grade. The ministry has given us 200 seats, and 180 seats are already occupied. It expresses the community’s welcoming of the project.”

Al-Jihani explained that the school organized a training course for teachers on early childhood teaching, including teaching techniques and upbringing strategies, as well as an introduction on the project and its goals.

Maryam Al-Zahrani, an early childhood teacher at the school with 22 years of experience, said that the first day is  crucial, and that it was “necessary for the student to feel that the woman in front of him is more like their mother” than just a teacher.

“I nominated myself as soon as the project was announced,” she said. “I am happy with this experience.”

 About 6 million students across the 13 administrative regions of the Kingdom returned to school on Sunday after almost four months of summer vacation.

 


LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

Updated 15 December 2019

LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

  • Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one

RIYADH: Renowned Italian restaurant Madeo has opened up in Al-Murabba for Riyadh Season. 

The pop-up has started brightly, and head chef Gianni Vietina invited Arab News to sample the menu and chat about his experience.

Vietina, in Saudi Arabia for the first time, said that he loved the location he had set up in, and was very happy to be opening up in the Kingdom. 

“The location is gorgeous. At night, with all the lights on, the music going, it’s very nice.”

Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one and that the response was even better than he had expected. 

“Like anything new, you have quests, you have problems. Up to now, we’re doing pretty good. We are up and running. We’re comfortable now, which is a shame as we’re leaving pretty soon,” he said.

He added that he would repeat the experience in a heartbeat if he could: “They were nice enough to ask me to stay in Saudi a little longer, but I can’t. I need to go back home. But I would love to come back.”

He said that while he was not planning to open up a permanent restaurant in Saudi Arabia, he would not rule it out completely.  “I’ve been offered options, and friends have offered to show me locations while I’m here, but I can’t do it right now, I just opened a new restaurant two months ago,” he said.

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like.”

Gianni Vietina, Head chef of Madeo

The pop-up’s menu contains most of what the original restaurant offers, including his ever-popular penne madeo and spaghetti bolognese, with the chefs using a combination of imported and locally sourced ingredients. 

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like,” he told Arab News.

For the pop-up, Vietina has stuck to using halal and alcohol-free ingredients. 

“It was challenging at the beginning. But the bolognese at Madeo doesn’t contain pork, and I realized after we tried cooking without wine that almost nothing changed. I actually prefer it,” he said.

Madeo is a favorite of Saudis visiting Los Angeles, with Vietina going so far as to describe the restaurant as a “Little Riyadh” on most evenings between July and September. 

He even recognizes some of the customers who have come into the Riyadh pop-up, and always stops over to greet them.

Upon sampling the menu, it’s easy to see why the food at Madeo has remained popular all these years. 

The eggplant parmigiana is a perfect blend of crusty cheese and silky smooth eggplant, with hints of basil and rosemary. 

The bolognese is rich, meaty and decadent, without being too heavy and greasy. And the penne madeo, which Vietina has been eating since his childhood, is a timeless classic of crushed tomato, basil, finished off with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano for a creamy, rich flavor.