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King Saud University Rector Abdullah Al-Othman encouraged both male and female students to participate in activities outside the classroom, not for recreation and amusement, but as a vital part of their learning process.
Speaking at a Feb. 22 workshop titled “Restructuring Student Activity and the Means of Developing It,” Dr. Al-Othman said that participating in extracurricular activities is an essential means of molding a student's character and developing his or her mental and practical capabilities.
The Rector pointed out that such activities allow students with insight valuable to planning their future: what they would like to become in 20 years and how to prepare for it. It is important, he added, that students take care to find extracurricular activities that fit with their life's ambitions.
The Rector emphasized that Mark Zuckerberg was the age of many KSU students when he invented Facebook.
“We have students among you who have launched projects in cooperation with Riyadh Techno Valley, including engineer Khalid Zahrani, who set up an automatic answering company, and 40 percent of his automatic answering service machine stock has been purchased by KSU,” he said. “We ask all students to look at him as an example to follow. This is why it is important that students participate in the decision-making process. The 21st century is different from the 20th century.”
The Rector added: “In the past, students were confined to the receiving end of the teaching process. Now, students take part in drawing up plans and concepts, and they make them work."
Dr. Al-Othman urged students to participate in extracurricular activities for their enjoyment and not for financial reward. “You are pioneers, creators and innovators who are the harbingers of the future.”
The workshop concluded with a discussion session with questions on how to enrich student activities.
Dr. Al-Othman himself is a graduate of King Saud University and is among the youngest university presidents in the world. Before becoming KSU’s seventh rector on March 21, 2007, he served as Undersecretary of Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Higher Education for Education Affairs and Vice President for Studies, Development and Follow-up at King Saud University. He also had been Dean of Student Affairs and President of the Students Fund Board, among other positions.