RIYADH — Ministry of Education's spokesperson Ibtesam Al-Shehri has confirmed that soft drinks are not allowed inside schools due to its violation of the health requirements set by the Ministry.

The spokesperson made this remarks during an interview with Al-Ekhbarya, as she added that the ministry has set health requirements in regard to the nutrition services that will be offered for students in school.

The ministry has also demanded from the education departments to follow up on what the school canteens offer.

She also stressed that the ministry will monitor the school canteens to check their commitment in not selling the soft drinks, and their adherence in selling the allowed food choices in school.

The ministry has directed the educational departments to open up the doors of competition for the private sector in regard to providing food services, the spokesperson said.

As for the ministry’s preparations for the new academic year, the spokesperson confirmed that the Minister of Education Dr. Hamad Al-Sheikh was keen in directing all the educational departments to fix and maintain schools before the beginning of the new school year.

She confirmed their readiness in all the fields to receive the students, such as completing whole services that will be provided for them, printing the curricula and delivering it to schools.

All the school books would be available as a digital copy too in the "Madrasati" platform, in addition it will be distributed as a printed copy, except several tracks, such as: digital skills; art education; life and family skills, which will be provided as digital copy only.

The spokesperson emphasized that the e-curricula would facilitate the long research process for the students, as it will help them in availing information easily and quickly.

There are so many new curricula that will be taught this year, such as: critical thinking; digital and technical skills series.

Since the previous year, the schools have started to teach the students in the first grade of primary school the English language, and this year it will continue to be taught to the students in second grade of primary school.

She added that there will also be a new curricula for the secondary school’s tracks, which is considered as an important subject such that it will help students gain skills that prepare them to the labor market directly after graduating, or to complete their studies in the universities.

The new curricula is considered the first of its kind to be taught for students in the secondary school, as in the previous years it was only offered for the students who are in the preparatory year in universities.

The curricula are: data science; engineering; financial management; vocational education, and many more.

With regard e-learning and the ways to benefit from the Madrasati platform, the spokesperson noted that students are still benefiting from the platform since its launch till today.

Madrasati platform is a strategic choice for the ministry, and also considered the future of education in Saudi Arabia, as it has received a lot of praise from many organizations such as UNESCO and the World Bank, the spokesperson said.

She confirmed that the ministry would continue in developing the platform, as it will be a reference for the teachers, students and even parents.

Madrasati would help students in remembering their studies quickly, and the teacher can use it as a tool to provide school lessons, as well as, the parents through the platform can check their children’s level in school.

As for transportation, the spokesperson added that the ministry continues in enabling the parents to register the children in the transportation via Noor system.

She added that several school buses have been prepared and maintained, as well as, the ministry has provided drivers.

The targeted number of students to be transported to school this year is 1.2 million students of both sexes, she said, while adding that the ministry will also provide services for 30.000 students with disabilities.

The spokesperson noted that the school buses that will transport the students have reached 27,000 buses and vehicles, in addition, the ministry has offered 4.000 buses and vehicles that have been equipped for the special education students.

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