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King Saud University’s Department of Special Education, a division of the University’s College of Education, is conducting a workshop on March 1-2 in cooperation with the Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Foundation.
Dr. Majed Al-Qasabi, Director General of the Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Foundation, explained that the Foundation is sponsoring the workshop in an effort to improve special education units in the Kingdom’s universities. The Foundation, he added, is diligently pursuing a special education program to develop special education expertise in caring for those individuals with disabilities, in cooperation with Bahrain's Arabian Gulf University.
Abdul Aziz Al-Magushi, the foundation’s deputy general director and a member of the workshop supervising committee, stressed that Saudi universities must review the Saudi universities’ special education plans and programs, both quantitatively and qualitatively, and then revise their curricula to match the Kingdom’s ongoing modernization trend.
“[Members of] the Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud Foundation took it upon themselves to contribute in building a Saudi human through a system of educational programs, scientific, health and culture,” Dr. Al-Magushi said. “This comes in the forefront of support for development program in Saudi universities.
“On the other hand, they want to address the issue of disability as a humanitarian, economic, and social requirement of the community. The provision of programs in the areas of training and rehabilitation and advanced work on the provision of specialized national cadres working in training and rehabilitation will provide material and technical support to the centers for care, research, and educational institutions and service.”
Dr. Abdullah Alajaji, Dean of KSU’s College of Education and chairman of the workshop’s organizing committee, expressed his delight at the joint organization between KSU and the Foundation’s Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Humanitarian City. He said emphasis on the workshop was exercised to help develop KSU’s Special Education Department into a model for such units in the country.
Another goal of the workshop is to improve academic standards for not only KSU but universities throughout the Kingdom, especially with the recruitment of international expertise in special education an all associations devoted to the handicapped.
Dr. Sahar Al-Khashrami, the director of Disability Services Center at King Saud University and chair of the workshop scientific committee, said the first Special Education Department was established by KSU 25 years ago and a variety of departments have since been added to improve the standards of the university’s special education graduates.
Four workshops are being offered, with 16 Saudi researchers from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United States participating. Fourteen research papers were also submitted. The workshop will conclude with a special session in which all special education directors assessing the best means of improving special education program standards for the students and what they consider the best way to coordinate the operation of the various programs.