- The transformative power of educational technology
- Who can benefit from EdTech, and how?
- Is Saudi Arabia prepared for this challenge?
- What solutions do we offer for Saudi Arabia's education?
Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 is a bold national transformation program. This ambitious initiative seeks to catapult the Kingdom into a future where its economy is diversified, sustainable, and knowledge-based. At the heart of this transformation is the Saudi youth, who require a robust and forward-thinking education system to become the architects of this new era.
Today, I would like to explore cutting-edge technologies that can serve as a cornerstone for empowering the nation through education. This notion perfectly aligns with the goals of Vision 2030 of building a thriving economy, a vibrant society, and an ambitious nation.
As I detailed in my previous article, education is both a challenge and an opportunity the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia faces. Let me provide a snapshot if you're not yet familiar with the context. As reported by Arab News in 2023, a staggering 63% of Saudi nationals are under the age of 30. This youthful demographic presents a potential powerhouse for economic growth and innovation. However, the Kingdom's ongoing ambition is to empower its nation to active participation in local and global markets.
Education is a long-term investment in optimizing employment rates
Currently, the Kingdom is making concerted efforts to improve its employment-to-population ratio. The journey since the inception of Saudi Vision 2030 in April 2016 has been marked by fluctuating workforce participation rates. The unemployment rate, which was at 5.6% back in 2016, escalated to a peak of 7.45% in 2020, mirroring the global economic turmoil unleashed by the pandemic.
Nevertheless, the trend reversed in the following years, with unemployment declining to 6.69% in 2021 and further to 5.64% in 2022. This rebound suggests an economic revival as the Kingdom emerged from pandemic-related restrictions and specific action on Saudi Arabia's behalf to remedy this challenge.
By the Q2 of 2023, the unemployment rate had further dropped to 4.9%. Within this period, Saudi women's labor force participation surged by 3.6%, heralding a significant shift towards greater economic inclusivity.
EdTech as A Pathway to Empower Saudi Vision 2030
To maintain this positive momentum, Saudi Arabia acknowledges the imperative to invest in education. But why is it so crucial?
- Firstly, a well-educated youth is crucial to sustaining a diversified economy in alignment with the ambitions of Vision 2030.
- Secondly, this can empower the Kingdom to withstand global economic and development affairs more resiliently.
- Thirdly, this shift will simply create job opportunities in both public and private sectors, attract foreign investment, and fuel the sovereign wealth fund with more opportunities to redirect them to education.
And so the circle closes.
Let's turn our attention to the solutions that will sustain this progress into 2030 and beyond. In my opinion, the Kingdom must focus on empowering young Saudis with innovative learning opportunities. The potential avenues are manifold. From virtual classrooms to AI-powered learning platforms, we will navigate the digital transformation that promises to revolutionize the Saudi educational landscape.
Join me as I embark on a journey of discovery, where the fusion of technology and vision paves the way for a knowledge-based future.
The transformative power of educational technology
Educational Technology (EdTech) stands at the forefront of a global shift toward effective and inclusive learning processes. It allows us to adapt agilely to different learning styles, further empowering students' strengths and explore knowledge freely, at their own pace.
It's also crucial to foster a positive relationship between parents, students, and educators, in line with the values of the Irtiqaa program. This synergy elevates the educational experience and builds a cohesive community committed to nurturing future generations.
The digital transformation in education extends beyond the physical classroom. For instance, EdTech presents an opportunity to bridge educational gaps. Remote and blended learning technologies can reach students in the most remote regions. A notable example is the innovative distance e-learning platform Madrasati for K12 students. Thanks to online education, the benefits of Vision 2030 can permeate every corner of the Kingdom.
Finally, Saudi Arabia has set a clear goal to become a hub connecting digital and physical realms. A prime example is the development of futuristic cities like NEOM. As Vision 2030 underscores the importance of developing a digital economy, it's essential that education keeps pace. Digital literacy skills, such as coding, AI, and robotics, are preparing students for jobs that may not yet exist, supporting the goal of building a future-oriented nation. I expect online coding schools to propel this goal forward.
Moreover, fostering entrepreneurship is expected to lead to a surge in startups and IT companies, potentially attracting significant foreign direct investment.
Who can benefit from EdTech, and how?
EdTech benefits a broad spectrum of stakeholders in the educational ecosystem, including students, teachers, parents, and the country as a whole.
Every student in the Kingdom deserves a bespoke education. Students stand to gain personalized learning paths. AI-powered platforms tailor content to individual needs, creating personalized learning paths. Underprivileged children from remote sites can become online students partaking in group learning. Moreover, kids with disabilities can learn on software designed with the highest accessibility standards in mind. Therefore, no student is overlooked.
Interactive tools and gamification make the learning experience more engaging. Meanwhile, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies provide immersive environments. For students who might otherwise disengage, these innovations can reignite a passion for learning and open doors to new academic and career opportunities. Ultimately, it leads to a more versatile and capable future workforce.
This technology also enables the discovery of new strengths, promoting a growth mindset that encourages lifelong learning.
Teachers themselves reap considerable rewards from EdTech. Automated grading systems free them from the exhaustive task of manual grading. Assessment of student work can become more effective and less biased.
This efficiency is further bolstered by advanced analytics for tracking student progress, fortifying a data-driven approach to education. It aligns with Vision 2030's emphasis on evidence-based policy-making and its objective to measure progress through a set of clear indicators. Moreover, it empowers teachers to support kids who are at risk of falling behind.
Collaboration tools can enhance the teacher-student and teacher-parent connections, facilitating real-time feedback and support. Furthermore, professional development becomes more accessible through online platforms, allowing educators to stay abreast of the latest pedagogical strategies and technological advancements.
Thus, EdTech becomes a catalyst for instructional excellence, aligning with the progressive goals of Vision 2030 to elevate the quality of education and, by extension, the nation's prosperity. With these tools, educators can identify trends and patterns that inform curriculum and course materials adjustments, fostering a more responsive and dynamic classroom environment.
Classroom time is not enough to support each student's strengths. Parents play an important role in educating future generations. In the vanguard of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, Irtiqaa stands as a testament to our commitment to cultivating a knowledge-based economy. Already, 80% of forward-thinking parents are engaging with Irtiqaa, fostering a generation ready to rise to the challenges of a dynamic global market.
What are the tangible benefits of EdTech? Direct oversight and involvement in their children’s academic journey. Tools such as online grade books and learning management systems provide real-time student performance and attendance updates. This allows parents to monitor the academic progress closely, enabling timely interventions to help children stay on track.
EdTech also offers a wealth of resources to supplement a child’s education at home. From educational apps that reinforce core skills to online resources that provide deeper dives into subjects of interest, parents can provide customized support to enhance their child’s learning process. I expect Blended Education 3.0 to play an important role in empowering this program.
Vision 2030 revolves around three main pillars: building a thriving economy, a vibrant society, and an ambitious nation. To achieve the ambitious goals of its national transformation program and maintain its role as the lead innovator in the Arab and Islamic worlds, the Kingdom must provide education on the highest possible level.
All three main pillars can be achieved by education technology.
- EdTech can contribute to economic diversification beyond oil by fostering a tech-savvy workforce equipped with digital and analytical skills. This is crucial for new industries that the Kingdom aims to develop. Creating jobs is also paramount for the Saudi economy.
- EdTech can enhance the quality of life by improving access to education through online courses, promoting social inclusion, and enabling lifelong learning opportunities for all segments of society.
- EdTech can help achieve national ambitions by cultivating a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship and positioning Saudi Arabia as a global hub for education technology.
Is Saudi Arabia prepared for this challenge?
Absolutely. Saudi Arabia's robust investment in digital infrastructure positions it well for the challenge of integrating EdTech across its educational landscape. The country's significant 5G penetration and speeds are a testament to its readiness. With the IoT (Internet of Things) coverage reaching 95% in urban areas, there is a strong foundation for advanced EdTech applications that require high-speed internet and connectivity.
The Kingdom's commitment to creating a digital-first society, as evidenced by its substantial investments in digital transformation initiatives, further underscores this readiness. This infrastructure supports cloud-based learning platforms, AI-driven personalized education, and resource-rich online learning environments that can be accessed from anywhere in the country.
The drive towards digitalization in education is also reflected in the government's support for startups and EdTech companies, nurturing an ecosystem that can develop localized solutions and content. This, coupled with the country’s Vision 2030 goals, indicates that Saudi Arabia is not just prepared for the EdTech revolution but is paving the way to become a leader in this domain. With these strides, the Kingdom is well-positioned to harness the power of EdTech to achieve its ambitious economic objectives.
What solutions do we offer for Saudi Arabia's education?
Saudi Arabia is adopting a visionary approach to education, implementing initiatives that digitalize learning and cater to the unique needs of every citizen. Vazco, with our track record of successful educational projects and partnerships with leading institutions, is well-equipped to support the Kingdom's educational ambitions.
Gamified Learning Platforms
Transform the learning experience with our gamified platforms that align with Saudi Arabia's educational goals. Our platforms go beyond simple reward systems, fostering a culture of creativity, accomplishment, and lifelong learning. With culturally relevant narratives, custom challenges, and sophisticated leaderboards, we aim to inspire and align with the goals of the nation's youth and educators.
Data Analysis & Tracking Systems
Leverage cutting-edge data analytics and student monitoring systems powered by machine learning. Explore possibilities of building new systems, data-driven decision-making, and possibilities for creating personalized learning paths. Take command of tracking student progress, analyzing feedback, monitoring well-being, and handling developmental data with precision.
Our systems support a transparent educational environment, informed decision-making, and efficient use of resources, enhancing accountability and integrity at every level.
Editorial Education Content Studios & Players
Enable educational content creators to enhance curricula and contribute to Saudi Arabia's economic growth with our intuitive, no-code platforms that:
- Allow educators to build online courses with diverse learning materials, like text, videos, recordings or voice messages, and tests.
- Shift from individual learning modules to full-fledged lessons with an adaptive learning focus.
- Tailor individual learning paths to meet the demands of both the student and the job market.
- Integrate effortlessly with any learning management system, including Madrasati LMS.
- Have future-proof and AI-friendly architecture.
AI-powered Semantic Readers
Advance study and research methods with AI-enhanced semantic readers that support ongoing education in Saudi Arabia. With fluency in natural language processing queries, they surpass traditional keyword searchers. Moreover, they can reduce a textbook's volume to up to 7 layers thanks to AI. This gives them a competitive edge compared to traditional books, which are less optimized for reading the same chapters over and over.
Semantic readers are particularly useful for university students in fields like medicine, psychology, law, and others. Semantic readers are valuable before an exam and in a professional career when one needs to evaluate one's knowledge when working with clients or patients.
As the Kingdom advances technologically, I anticipate interactive AI tools to be at the forefront of enriching the digital educational experience.
In line with Saudi Arabia's progressive educational vision, our bespoke social platforms encourage a rich exchange of knowledge and vibrant interactions among students, educators, and the broader academic community. These platforms extend the reach of blended learning, creating virtual classrooms that provide profound engagement and interactivity, fostering connections, and supporting the development of a skilled workforce that will drive the Kingdom's economic growth.
The integration of EdTech within Saudi Arabia's educational framework is not just an enhancement but a transformation. With Vision 2030 as a guiding star, the Kingdom is poised to harness the full spectrum of educational technology — from AI to blockchain and gamification to social networks — to create a rich, dynamic learning environment.
Education technology is set to revolutionize how education is delivered, accessed, and experienced, promising a future where every Saudi learner can thrive in a rapidly evolving digital world. The commitment to such innovation reflects a broader ambition to lead on the global stage. As these possibilities unfold, the promise of EdTech in Saudi Arabia is not just in meeting the benchmarks of today but in setting new ones for tomorrow. In my view, Saudi Arabia is fully prepared to become the next investment powerhouse.
Thank you for staying with me until the end of this article. If you want to discuss potential synergies, reach out to me via contact form or LinkedIn. Until then!
Business Development Manager
Navigating the diverse world of business processes for +15 years, I became a Business Developer, but I also have gained experience in Delivery Management and Recruitment. I've worked in both global and local companies. At Vazco, I thrive on connecting with great folks across Western Europe, the USA, Scandinavia, and the Middle East. I also focus on forging genuine, long-lasting connections in business. When the office lights go off, you’ll find me reveling in the great outdoors, tackling offroad trails, diving into unconventional sports, or anything with an engine. And, of course, there’s my most cherished role - being a dad.