(MENAFN - Arab News) The Higher Education Ministry's recent decision restricting e-learning to Saudi Electronic University will boost distance education in the Kingdom, offering advanced courses to students, said Abdullah Al-Moussa, acting rector of the university.
He was speaking at a meeting attended by top officials from 25 government universities to discuss how to implement the ministry's decision. Muhammad Al-Ouhali, deputy minister for education affairs was present.
He advised universities to stop accepting students for e-learning courses beginning from 2013-14 academic year. "During this period, SEU will establish e-learning centers in different parts of the Kingdom in cooperation with other Saudi universities," he added.
Al-Moussa said SEU would follow a five-phase program for students' intake. "In the first stage we'll review student trends and job market requirements. In the second stage, we'll create suitable learning atmosphere. After that we'll start admitting students. It will be followed by the phases of review and changes."
Al-Moussa emphasized his university's role in establishing a knowledge-based economy in the Kingdom. "We will also meet the Kingdom's development requirements and labor market needs."
He said the ministry's decision would enable the university to accommodate more students who wanted to join various e-learning courses, which has become popular among Saudis.
"The decision aims at unifying national policies related to e-learning and improving the quality of e-learning services. It will also contribute to Saudi universities specializing in different academic areas," Al-Moussa said.
SEU will not only provide certificates to students but also develop their various skills from the beginning. "We are confident that our students will find a suitable place in the job market because our courses are based on the best e-learning models in the world," he added.
Al-Ouhali said there was a big increase in the number of Saudis joining e-learning courses. "They wanted to continue working while registering for different e-learning courses," he added. About 61.59 percent of e-learning Saudi students are men and 34.23 percent women. He said the ministry's decision was aimed at making e-learning more professional.
Yassir Bahadur, a professor at King Abdulaziz University's Faculty of Medicine, said many Saudis living abroad join e-learning courses in Saudi universities to add to their academic profile. "This is a growing trend among the Saudis," he told Arab News.