Students in Kingdom to gain ‘competitive edge’ under 2021 pathways program

RIYADH, August 21 (INP): Saudi Arabia’s education system is preparing for drastic changes with the introduction of a new secondary school program in 2021, a Ministry of Education official said.

The pathways secondary education system is in the final stages of preparation and will be applied initially in 100 public schools around the Kingdom, Prof. Ibrahim Al-Humaidan, general supervisor for the Executive Program of Developing Secondary School Pathways, Study Plans and Academies at the Ministry of Education told Arab News.

Arab News obtained a draft copy of the system, which consists of six main academic and career pathways: Scientific; computer and engineering sciences; health and life sciences; humanitarian; business administration; and Shariah. Each pathway offers a unique learning experience.

“The whole idea of the system was conceived after comparing several global educational systems,” Al-Humaidan said.

“All six pathways enhance a student’s skills, values and conduct and make him or her capable of benefiting society and the country. The system will be introduced in certain schools and will be subject to assessment and strict governance.”

The pathways system will improve performance and prepare students for college, while also offering the chance to join a short career diploma program and join the labor market if they have no plans to enrol in college — an approach adopted by many countries around the world.

Students will be offered alternatives and can choose the program they most prefer.
Al-Humaidan said that variety is an added value for the pathways, which present new opportunities for students.

“The latest theories show that learning occurs inside the learner’s environment when the learner interacts with his or her peers and tries to solve problems. It is there that the learner acquires real-life skills and learns new things,” he said.

Al-Humaidan said the courses will give students a competitive edge.
Course content has been reviewed to ensure it matches the student’s age, he added.

The pathways focus more on English language, mathematics, sciences and business administration since these skills increase a student’s chances of success.
Students will have added flexibility to move from one pathway to another after finishing the second year.

Al-Humaidan said that the pathways will allow students to pass incomplete courses during the summer and enrol in the bridging program.

“A teacher is the most influential and the one who can make a difference in the classroom,” he said. “The courses that challenge a student’s mentality will definitely enhance his or her skills.”

Education is among the top priorities of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform program, and is also an integral part of the UNESCO sustainable development plan 2030.