Saudi Arabia to introduce English language from first grade of primary school starting next academic year

Saudi students sit for their final high school exams in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah on May 24, 2015. (AFP)
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Updated 21 September 2020

Saudi Arabia to introduce English language from first grade of primary school starting next academic year

  • The Ministry of Education says there will also be a focus on science and mathematics
  • Digital education will begin from the fourth year

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will teach the English language from first grade of primary school starting from the next academic year, the education minister said on Sunday.
Speaking during an interview with state-run Al-Ekhbariya TV’s Al-Raasd program, Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh, said that five courses have been approved for the next academic year, including a focus on science and mathematics.
The minister also said that digital education would begin from the fourth year.
“There will be some changes that aim to benefit students and the future citizen to become a graduate of education and qualified to compete on an international level,” Al-Asheikh said.
Four of the courses will be introduced to all schools, but he said the fifth would only be implemented in the major schools distributed throughout the Kingdom.
“The general education stage is an important stage and we cannot improve higher education without improving secondary education, and this will happen in 2021,” the minister said.
The minister added there would be certain subjects that would be taught remotely, and distance education will continue even after the coronavirus pandemic.

Saleh Hamad Al-Suhaibani, Saudi representative to the OIC

Updated 25 October 2020

Saleh Hamad Al-Suhaibani, Saudi representative to the OIC

Saleh Hamad Al-Suhaibani has been appointed the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) recently.

Al-Suhaibani received a bachelor’s degree in Arabic from Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University (IMSIU) in 1987.

Four years later, he achieved a master’s degree in applied linguistics from the same university with a focus on teaching Arabic to non-native speakers.

In 1998, Al-Suhaibani obtained a Ph.D. in applied linguistics from the University of Leeds, UK.

He served as the secretary-general of the Arab Red Crescent and Red Cross Organization (ARCO) for three  years. He has also worked as a Saudi cultural attache to the UAE. Moreover, he was an adviser to the Saudi joint committee for the relief of Kosovo and Chechnya.

He has also held a number of positions, including chairing the Arabic language department at IMSIU and the language preparatory department at the Arabic language institute at IMSIU. Al-Suhaibani was the deputy manager of the Arabic language teachers’ qualification department at the same university. Moreover, he has been the assistant director of scholarships for promotional affairs at what was formerly called the Ministry of Higher Education.

Al-Suhaibani has published dozens of research papers, including his political discourse analysis studies. He has also authored and translated several books.

He has received several awards, appreciation letters and certificates of excellence. In May 2019, ARCO awarded Al-Suhaibani with the Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq Medal, the highest Arab medal for humanitarian work.