Changing Saudi education: Inside KHEBRAT


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Yahia Alayyafi

Saudi Arabia is changing, a fact evident from the new direction being taken by the country; one led by deputy crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. This is something our country needed badly, but thinking that modernization only comes from investing in infrastructure development is flawed and over simplistic.

No country can rise to the height of glory by simply making enough money to keep the economy afloat, but by investing in human capital development. To accomplish the objectives of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia needs human capital capable enough to lead the change. The realization of this very fact compelled the Ministry of Education (MoE) to introduce KHEBRAT, or Building Leadership for Change through School Immersion (BLCSI), as it called here at Kent State University.

The MoE is committed to transforming the education system by strengthening the attitudes, values, skills, and knowledge of teachers, counselors, and principals via systematic immersion in high performing Anglophone K12 school systems. KHEBRAT is the realization of these goals. It is equipping Saudi cadres with the necessary leadership skills required to modernize the education system of the country. Saudi teachers, as part of this program, get to spend a year in one of seven countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, among others. KHEBRAT provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to Saudi teachers to a absorb modern education system and implement it in Saudi Arabia.

It is not a destination, but a journey that puts each and every participant on the path of self-improvement via continuous learning. The program imparts what I would say the Saudi education system needs: the importance of having trained, experienced teachers and an inclusive education system.

I am part of this program at Kent State, and I wouldn’t say my time here has been trouble-free. But this is what KHEBRAT is all about; giving you real-life experiences, presenting you with challenges to face, and helping you understand that by taking charge you can bring positive change.

Experience, exposure, and education are what KHEBRAT participants are acquiring. Kent State is fully cooperating with us, facilitating us in any and every way possible, and helping us understand how we can regenerate the education system of our country.

Yahia Alayyafi is a guest columnist. Contact him at [email protected].