Higher Education in Saudi Arabia: Achievements, Challenges and Opportunities

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Minorities with opposite cultural views frame of reference of American mainstream culture have greater inflexibility to learn at school [2]. Collaborating with legal organizations in developing new admissions and hiring policies that increase diversity and promote equality must be considered to overcome the social oppression of minorities. Yet, developing educational policies and teaching practices requires the engagement of both students and faculty members to foster diversity; as mentioned by Milem et al. Mobley indicated that educational diversity is associated with the inclusion of excluded races and groups; there must be an action plan to successfully accomplish diversity in educational institutions.

Hence, based on the latter views diversity can go either way depending on how we deal with it. Many educators believe in Dr. Mobley saying "Diversity is the nation's unfinished business; If we cannot acknowledge it, we cannot address it! In the US society, the equality issue between colored black and white women is still unresolved because leaders confuse racial diversity with gender diversity. However, Dr. Mobley pointed out in her story of the two orphanage girls that it is not about the color only, but about being moral and ethical to others [3]. Mobley recommended that we have to work towards diversity and believe in diversity by valuing it and applying the best practices towards it in order to give the people a sense of belonging to encourage them for competitions and learning [3].

Educators in educational institutions should always work towards diversity and make sure to diversify their students, faculty members and curriculum for student's success. Diversity and racially inclusive learning environments should become from involving both educational leaders as well as students in developing educational policies and teaching practices.

Certain diversity frameworks e. Mobley agrees with Karkouti that diversity is strongly associated with the inclusion of excluded races within the society.

Education in Saudi Arabia - Basmah Bint Saud - Oxford Union

However, Karkouti only considered race and ethnicity in his diversity analysis whereas Dr. Diversification is a non-ending continuous process of improvement of applied practices, like using PSEL standards, to give students a sense of belonging and promote student's academic success and well-being. A paradox in diversity may arise if people in the society have different levels of education, awareness, and understanding of the word "diversity". If everyone in the society has a similar idea to what Dr.

Personal Experience with Diversity A past experience for me, in which cultural differences were an issue, is related to my previous job when I was working as a chemical engineer in Saudi Aramco Company. I used to work with diverse employees of different nationalities, race, ethnicity, language and cultural background; and since the company approach is based on the team-work, I have been usually assigned in groups with people of totally different nationality and race than of mine.

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In the beginning, I faced some difficulties in getting along with my team of foreigners, mainly due to cultural and language differences, but on a later stage, I have been able to adjust myself and learn a lot from working with them. However, this took me longer than I expected three weeks with daily meetings because I have not had the chance to know that understanding others' culture would have helped me in understanding their behavior and thinking [6].

Later, I found out that I was mistaken in getting annoyed at the first place because I learned skills like organization, work experience, respectfulness, and discussion. However, it will absolutely take some time to understand the other person's accent, behavior, think, and culture; but this time will be much shorter if I know today's knowledge about diversity. This completely depends on the idea of putting culture to work and knowing others' culture.

With today's knowledge on diversity, I would have learned the other teammate's culture much faster and I would have engaged myself with them in various activities to overcome cultural differences and create collaborative and productive relationships [6, 5]. The higher educational institute KAU, Rabigh is typically constructed for undergraduate study levels. The university should address diversity-related attitudes by having a more diverse campus, teaching students about diversity and engaging students and faculty staff in solving the problem [8].


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There are various difficulties inherent in creating a culture to change attitudes towards diversity in KAU Rabigh. While religion and culture permeate every facet of life including economic, governmental and educational arenas, Saudi Arabia remains a very traditional, conservative society where educational institutions prefer to have a static culture a non-diverse campus.

The university should collaborate with Saudi organizations to initiate diversity awareness programs and encourage campus diversity e. The primary goal of the department should be to engage faculty, staff, and students in a better learning environment through having a diverse campus community that will ensure collaboration, creativity, equality, and innovation. The department should seek a safe environment that is free from discrimination which is possible by understanding and appreciation for the complex cultural and physical worlds in which faculty, staff, and students live [11, 12].

Why do we have differences between people? How do we accept diversity and have a more diverse campus? Intended outcomes of the workshop are as shown below [6, 15, 16]: 1 Understand and define diversity in a university educational level. Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives. Eight actions to reduce racism in college classrooms. Academe, 6 , For example, in order to successfully engage students in classrooms, educators must know their students and their academic abilities individually, rather than relying on racial or ethnic stereotypes.

Educators must be very sensitive to their own ethnic attitudes as well as their student's ethnic attitudes in order to have a more harmonic environment that is free from racism.

From zero to 39,845 in seven years; Saudi Arabia’s fast track to women’s degree study

Moreover, curriculum and text selections are crucial to academic performance and can help students to find and value their own voices, histories, and cultures [19]. Still, many people believe that this system is unfair to women as Ms. Akeel reported that "Male guardianship is un-Islamic and humiliating for women, some men take advantage of this male guardianship for their own benefit and abuse it" [20]. Saudi women encountered continuous limitations and restrictions at both educational and professional levels.

Hence, a bias related to gender that impacts women students to pursue their education and affect their educational relationship with a staff member of an educational institution arise from the previous beliefs and views determined from the country's culture, religious norms and regulations. However, recently and during the last 50 years, the government of Saudi Arabia has changed their views about women education and built many universities and colleges for women in order to involve women in the educational society.

Also, Saudi Arabia has changed their views about letting women work and study without a man's permission [21]. Effat University in Jeddah has allowed women to study science, engineering, language and liberal arts and to be as equal as men in choosing any profession of study. Moreover, KAU has opened branch campuses for women offering mathematics, biology, medicine, computer sciences, humanities, and architecture. However, in all universities, women have attended segregated campuses, and subjects were still more limited than those for men [21].

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KAUST was the first entirely co-educational institution in the country where both genders are taught in the same campus and classes. Educational institutions should address previous gender-related problems regarding women education e. One example of what universities have done to encounter gender-related problems is that, In , KAU in Jeddah began to allow women to attend campus and the Girls Education College was started in Makkah which gradually increased the number of women in Saudi universities [24].

Higher Education In Saudi Arabia: Achievements, Challenges And Opportunities

Educators should not view women as subordinate students and there should be no discrimination and segregation against women. Even though this might look very hard at the beginning, especially that Saudi Arabia is a conservative society, it will be a good start to have a diverse campus where both genders have a chance to begin to understand each other's mind. Segregation is never a solution to the discussed problems because universities have to become more inclusive, diverse, supportive and cooperative with minorities e.

Higher education in Saudi Arabia has changed over time in accordance with Saudi cultural traditions and religious norms [28]. Hence, we should update the education system to create programs that support women and balance social constructions of gender. Disabilities The engineering college at KAU Rabigh has shown a few educational inequality and exclusion practices towards students with disabilities.

The project work Disability Awareness Program: The Case of Students with Hearing Impairments in the Engineering College at KAU should be introduced to the students in a workshop presentation which involves the following: [what is disability? What is disability?


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A student is considered disabled when there is a physical, behavioral, or cognitive difference that adversely affects a student's educational performance [6]. Types of disability: There are many different types of disability and some students may have more than one disability. Students with disabilities include the following: vision impairments, hearing impairments, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, psychological and psychiatric conditions, autism spectrum disorders, neurological and cognitive impairments, brain injuries and medical conditions [30].

A hearing impairment can range from a mild hearing loss to profound deafness. This category of disabled students has been chosen because students with hearing impairments need assistance from the university as well as their peers e. Educational equality and inclusion of students with hearing impairments are attainable if the university raises its students' awareness regarding students with disabilities [6]. Workshop outcomes: The expected outcomes from the workshop include that, but not limited to, the students should appreciate and assist other students with hearing impairments problems through 1 use of sign language, 2 provide support such as note-taking and hearing aid devices, 3 communicate effectively and determine if there is difficulty of hearing from students.

Also, the workshop should raise the students' awareness about disabilities by 4 promote an inclusive learning environment, 5 avoid being disrespectful and stereotypical or offensive, and 6 encourage students to be friendly, assistive, smile and make eye contact with students with a disability. This is not just a matter of the status that is brought to KAU through the reputation of its collaborators, KAU academic staff greatly enhance their knowledge and skills through the mentoring that occurs through the collaborative projects, and so are able to provide greatly enhanced standards of teaching and research supervision at KAU, as well as developing the capacity to lead major research projects themselves.

Despite its clear progress, KAU is far from resting on its laurels.

Higher Education in Saudi Arabia: Achievements, Challenges and Opportunities - Google книги

KAU is clearly making great strides in the right direction. This means that the benchmarking process is continually stretching the university and its staff to think outside the region and to compete on the international stage. Skip to main content. King Abdulaziz University Oasis of research. Brought to you by. About KAU. Promoted by King Abdulaziz University.

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