Saudi academic programs will focus on ‘critical thinking’
Saudi schools have opened their doors to students after a year and a half of closure due to the COVID pandemic and imposed restrictions that have prevented class attendance and pushed for distance education. This new experience was a turning point for the education system and will be at the heart of a new phase in which the country will mix traditional and innovative methods to create a uniform educational process.
Saudi Education Minister Hamad Al-Sheikh has announced the distribution of £ 71million in light of preparations for the new academic year.
At a press conference, Al-Sheikh explained the details and mechanics of what he called an “exceptional season,” saying the ministry had formed 34 new programs, including critical thinking material, and new editions of about 90 books currently in use.
The inclusion of critical thinking in Saudi educational curricula aims to reduce the impacts of traditional teaching methods and unsatisfactory and ineffective tautology, and to prevent the leakage of shady ideas touted by ideological groups to fuel their projects. chaotic.
Dalia Tunsi, who participated in the formation of the drafts of the Critical Thinking and Philosophy programs with the Saudi Ministry of Education, said: “Based on the suggestions made to the World Economic Forum (Davos) regarding the requirements There are 10 skills that should be provided to build a generation ready for the future of business. Most of these skills focus on teamwork and strategic and critical thinking. “
“Most of these skills aim to provide the benefit of the doubt that helps develop scrutiny and screening, in addition to personal dialogue about what the student might see or hear,” she explained in a commentary. interview with Asharq Al-Awsat.
“Critical thinking must be part of the educational process. It can be used as a tool that supports the student throughout his school career. It must also be a founding element of the student’s reflection and dialogues aimed at training them to fill in the gaps left deliberately in educational and experimental programs, ”she continued.
Regarding the role of the community in this training process, she said: “The community is another front because children have access to many types of content on the Internet. The world is open and the pace of learning is unprecedented, which is reflected in our children’s questions which often exceed our expectations and abilities. “
Researcher Najah al-Otaibi believes that the critical thinking program is one of the major developments added by the ministry in the education system, as it has a long-term impact on future generations.
Critical thinking will improve students’ flexibility and objectivity when it comes to assessing things and solving problems, as well as openness and independence in decision making.
Being a critical person helps develop certain characteristics such as tolerance and rejection of prejudices.
“The ministry has taken serious steps to eradicate the underlying problem of the program through multi-directional policies such as content development and skill building of students,” she told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Hassan al-Sharif, professor of philosophy at Taibah University, said teaching critical thinking without using philosophy is like trying to teach a language only through its rules of grammar, which is a difficult task.
“Teaching philosophy is the best way to improve the mental preliminaries necessary for critical thinking such as epistemic doubt, open-mindedness, cognitive curiosity and epistemic humility. Without these preliminaries, critical thinking skills would diminish. long-term training until it becomes a habit, which could be done by including these skills in all academic phases, ”he told Asharq Al-Awsat.