(MENAFN - Arab News) Education Minister Prince Faisal bin Abdullah disclosed yesterday plans for more district clubs for boys and girls to help them engage in hobbies and social, cultural and sports activities.
"We intend to establish 1,000 such clubs at schools in the next three years," Prince Faisal told the Shoura Council. "We have already established more than 50 clubs and allocated funds for 114."
Prince Faisal expressed his hope that the new clubs would help students to develop their various skills and capabilities.
He said the ministry would reconsider appointment of temporary teachers to meet shortage of instructors in some schools in remote areas. He said the ministry would continue its efforts to improve the quality and standard of schoolteachers.
He said female teachers would be allowed to teach at primary classes of private schools if the latter wanted to appoint them. "Teaching by women at these classes had a positive impact," the minister pointed out.
"The school should be owned by a Saudi, Islamic and social subjects and Arabic language should be included in the curriculum," he said regarding whether foreign schools should admit Saudi students.
He disclosed plans to give regional education directors greater powers. "We'll appoint 1,000 nurses to improve health services at schools in coordination with the Health Ministry."
Referring to transportation of students, Prince Faisal said: "We have now about 13,000 buses to carry 613,000 girl students. We want to increase the number of buses further. We also intend to improve the transport service for female teachers."
The minister also spoke about efforts to get rid of rented school buildings and blamed contractors for not completing about 500 school projects.
"We are dealing with 1,600 contractors with varying capabilities," he said.
Prince Faisal emphasized the progress achieved by his ministry toward improving the country's education level. He indicated plans to increase salaries of teachers and education officials as an incentive to work for educational progress. "The plan will be presented to higher authorities for approval," he told Shoura members.
The minister spoke about the King Abdullah General Education Development Project and its various initiatives. "A strategic plan for the development of education has been prepared which will be implemented by Tatwir Company," he said.
He said the ministry had helped 28,500 female teachers move to schools close to their homes on their request. "We have solved many problems facing teachers."
The ministry has raised the qualification requirement for teachers and provided them with necessary training through Tatwir. "We also fixed the minimum salary of Saudi teachers in private schools at SR 5,600."
Prince Faisal referred to his ministry's efforts to improve the standard of teachers by coordinating with Saudi universities and setting up a joint committee with the Ministry of Higher Education. "We select new teachers in coordination with the National Center for Assessment (Qiyas)," he said.
Earlier, Shoura President Abdullah Al-Asheikh highlighted the Education Ministry's role in preparing the Kingdom's future generations. "Education has a great impact. It changes individuals and society," he said.