Arab News – After the longest summer vacation and Haj holidays in many years, schools and other educational institutions will reopen on Sunday.
Over a million students in Riyadh are preparing for the first day of school in the new academic year.
In Jeddah, more than 600,000 students will report to approximately 2,200 schools.
International schools that cater to the children of expatriates are also reopening on Sunday.
Riyadh Educational Directorate chief Mohammed Al-Rashed called on students to follow the Ministry of Education’s instructions and utilize their time by taking advantage of the given opportunities.
Hamad Al-Shunaibar, assistant director general of school affairs, expressed optimism for the new academic year.
He stressed that the administration teams in all departments are working on harnessing their potential to provide the appropriate atmosphere and proper studying environment for students to achieve their aspirations, and to help boost the Kingdom’s educational levels.
For elderly Saudis, the new school year evokes good memories.
Education in the past differed in methods of punishment, subjects and transportation.
In the past, education was very simple and limited. Traditional education in Saudi Arabia included memorization and recitation of the Qur’an.
As for school buildings and tools, buildings were made of mud with modest furniture, including tables, chairs and blackboards. There was no electricity in Saudi schools and there were only a few simple aids such as maps and stationery.
Teachers in the past enjoyed authority inside and outside the classroom, and some of them punished students when they found them playing football after school hours. Punishment sometimes even included include beating the students.
When it was raining, studies did not stop as students would walk to school and they were received by the director and teachers at the front door of the school to escort them into their classrooms.

The Riyadh Educational Directorate has also completed a partial renovation of 30 school buildings that required urgent maintenance as well as general maintenance on more than 1,800 school buildings.
Fahad bin Faraj Al-Saqiyah, assistant director general of support services, explained that the operations and summer maintenance committee had recommended the evacuation of three school buildings as well as urgent maintenance on eight schools in rented buildings.

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