COVID-19: Saudi Arabia’s academic year to run for 3 semesters

Cairo: Students in Saudi Arabia are set for a new academic year to be divided into three semesters instead of the usual two semesters, as the kingdom is preparing for the revival of in-person classes in different education institutions.

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The plan was unveiled by Saudi Education Minister Hamad Al Sheikh, who said that the new academic year will begin on August 29.

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Each of the three semesters will be made up of 13 weeks, according to the minister. He added that each semester will also have long weekends.

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Advanced plans

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“Starting from the next school year, advanced plans will be applied in line with requirements of upgrading curricula and introducing new syllabuses,” he said at a press conference.

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Al Sheikh urged education employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before August 1 to protect their health and ensure a smooth in-person class education process.

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His remarks came a day after the Saudi Education Ministry announced preparations for the return of students in different schools and universities to in-person classes in the new academic year, months after attendance was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The ministry said that schoolteachers and university teaching staff will have to show up in person at their workplaces, urging them to hurry and get the shots against COVID-19 according to arrangements made by the Health Ministry.

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The vaccination will be verified via health apps Tawakkalna and Tabaud. The Education Ministry also said that getting vaccinated will be obligatory for accessing all public and private schools, universities and technical training institutions.

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Technical training

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All students of government and private universities as well as technical and vocational training institutions will return to classes provided they are in safe health status. Universities and training institutions will announce the decisions necessary for specifying attendance mechanisms.

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The ministry said that the return of pre-university students to public and private schools will be according to approved operational patterns that will be announced in due time.

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The age groups targeted to return to school classes will be specified in coordination with the Ministry of Health and its approved arrangements while heeding aspects related to student density in schools and those located in remote areas.

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Last year, Saudi Arabia suspended in-person classes and switched to distance-learning via a government platform as part of stringent measures to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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