by P A Hameed Padubdiri
Daijiworld Media Network - Riyadh (CN)
Riyadh, Oct 16: After extended holidays, students are back in school all over the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. All international schools including the Indian CBSE-affiliated schools have witnessed a flurry of activity over the past few days. Most families, who were on vacation during the holidays, have been back for a while now and busy making arrangements for the new school year.
There are a number of schools in Riyadh affiliated to the Indian CBSE curriculum. Besides the International Indian School, Taqwa International School, Yara International School, Yasmeen International School, Delhi Public School, Middle East School and Seva International Indian School, are all accredited by the Saudi Education Ministry.
Usually, the schools reopen after summer holidays, before Ramadan and then declare Eid holidays for about ten days. However, the scenario was quite different this year with holidays being declared for all schools from July to October, by the Saudi Education Ministry. Both parents and children were very happy to have had this opportunity for more leisure.
When this correspondent visited some Indian international schools in Riyadh, he encountered various scenes commonly seen at the beginning of each academic year. Everyone was busy paying and receiving the fees, getting new students admitted, issuing books and school uniforms, arranging transport and other administrative activities. The front offices and counters for accountants and administrators had huge crowds getting queries answered, obtaining application forms for new admissions and so on.
Most students were understandably quite reluctant to go to school on the first day. The younger ones in particular were in petulant moods and had gloomy faces. Some of the new nursery and kindergarten admissions refused to part with their parents or guardians. The teachers and other designated staff were seen carrying out their duties faithfully by keeping watch over the students when boarding and alighting the school vans and buses, and while crossing the roads. The students are not allowed out of the school gates unless accompanied by parents or guardians or in school vehicles.
Traffic has increased in the peak hours with the start of the new school year. The Saudi government is trying to resolve the issue of traffic jams and long delays by constructing new roads, diversions, expansions, overbridges and other alternatives. The shopping malls and hypermarkets also do not lag behind with various merchandise to lure parents and children equally. School bags, backpacks, notebooks, water bottles, lunch boxes, pens and pencils, are all on display. ‘Back to school’ was one of the impressive catchwords in leaflets issued by some malls offering products at special offers and prices.