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Saudi Gazette, Saturday, January 21, 2017

Kingdom

Saudi professor produces biogas from animal and plant waste

A

HMED Saeed Moham-

med Qashash, a teaching

member at the University

of Al-Baha, has made the

first biogas digester, pro-

ducing organic fertilizers and biogas.

This scientific concept aims at re-

using organic leftovers from crops and

livestock waste in an economical and

safe way to protect the environment

from pollution. This concept allows the

production of the methane gas in a new

and renewable source of energy.

Dr. Qashash said that the bio-

digester produces biogas from organic

waste through the fermentation of

these residues, isolating them from air

in the middle of a 90 percent aqueous

environment in a tank underground.

The size of the tank varies depending

on the purpose of the unit; it ranges

from several cubic meters to several

thousands cubic meters.

When the conditions of tempera-

ture, acidity and ingredients balance

are on point, the bacteria will disband

the organic materials into organic acids

and be transformed into methane in

the form of tiny bubbles that goes up,

mixed with carbon dioxide gas.

Dr. Qashash told Al-Arabiya that

cattle waste is one of the best types

used in the production of this gas,

followed by sheep, birds and camel

wastes, in addition to farm waste ema-

nating from agricultural crops such as

wheat, corn, wasted fruits and leftovers

in fruit and vegetable shops.

He explained that the waste of one

cow per day produces the equivalent of

1,200 liters of gas, while the waste of one

chicken produces only nine liters. He add-

ed that this gas is used directly for cook-

ing, lighting, heating and cooling, operat-

ing internal combustion machines such as

irrigation machines, mills and agricultural

machinery. It can also produce electric

power generators with this biogas.

One cubic meter of biogas can run

a machine with one horse power for

two hours. It can also run an agricul-

tural tractor that weighs three tons for

almost a distance of three kilometers,

a six feet refrigerator for six hours, a

60-cm poultry heater for two hours and

lighting a 100-watt bulb for six hours.

Dr. Qashash added that gas extrac-

tion starts one month after the begin-

ning of the natural fermentation pro-

cess. When there is no more oxygen

available, the fermenting molecules

start to produce natural gas.

— Al-Arabiya English

Dr. Ahmed Saeed Mohammed

Qashash, faculty member at the

University of Al-Baha.

From obscurity

to excellence

Saudi Gazette report

A

COMMITTEE

from the United

Nations Educa-

tion Commission

recently paid a visit

to observe a project for rectifica-

tion of the status of community

schools in Makkah. The com-

mittee praised the project and

deemed it a model for rectifying

the status of community schools

anywhere.

The committee referred the

education dossier to the United

Nations Educational, Scien-

tific and Cultural Organization

(UNESCO) as the best education

and development model for com-

munity schools in the Middle

East, Director of Education in

Makkah Province Muhammad

Mahdi Al-Harthi said.

Despite the UN’s praise, the

administration has its work cut

out as it faces difficulties and

obstacles in implementing the

project. “Community schools

that have been in a haphazard

state and were considered illegal

for over 60 years have recorded

their male and female student en-

rollment at over 70,000 and need

considerable efforts to bring

them back on the right track,”

Al-Harthi said.

Project idea

The idea of rectifying the

status of community schools

in Makkah emanated from the

state’s belief in goal-oriented

education and its role in devel-

oping the general conduct and

intellectual growth of students.

Education is the right of

every child living in the King-

dom. Children should be able

to obtain education in a healthy

educational environment and

with sound curricula. Makkah

Education Administration started

the project for rectification of

the status of community schools

after noticing the birth of Qur’an

elementary schools known as

the “katateeb” in a haphazard

manner in various districts of the

holy city. These schools were

founded by volunteers in local

communities. There were vast

differences in curricula, vision

Community schools in Makkah offer a promising future with state support

and teaching methods adopted by

these schools.

Apart from this, many chil-

dren from the community were

not enrolled in the schools and

spent their time on the streets.

The buildings the schools were

housed in did not conform to the

most basic construction require-

ments. Teaching materials were

also found to be grossly inad-

equate.

“After monitoring these

schools and carrying out field

inspections, we noticed that

there was randomness in running

them. There was no plan or cur-

riculum for the education process

Community

schools that

have been in

a haphazard

state and were

considered illegal

for over 60 years

have recorded

their male and

female student

enrollment at

over 70,000 and

need considerable

efforts to bring

them back on the

right track.

Muhammad

Mahdi Al-Harthi

Director of

Education,

Makkah

the schools to ensure a unified

education plan, in line with the

Ministry of Education’s curricu-

lum. The administration would

also make sure that there was no

coeducation, lack of planning,

haphazard regulations and educa-

tion malpractices.

“In implementation of the

directives of then Minister of

Education Prince Khaled Al-

Faisal on rectifying the status of

community schools in Makkah, a

meeting was held in the presence

of the undersecretaries of the

ministry and the director general

of education in Makkah Prov-

ince. That meeting resulted in a

new mechanism for rectifying

the status of community schools.

Then the recommendations and

mechanisms were referred to

Prince Khaled. An approval was

issued to implement the mecha-

nisms, which were signed by the

deputy ministers and undersecre-

taries of the Ministry of Educa-

tion,” Al-Harthi said.

Based on the approval, the

General Administration for

Education in Makkah Province

started drawing up plans, imple-

menting the mechanisms and

carrying out the measures for

rectification. This was achieved

by gradually absorbing male and

female students from the impov-

erished Burmese community into

government schools.

State project

Al-Harthi confirmed that the

rectification of the status of com-

munity schools was a project car-

ried out by the state that spares

no effort and spends generously

from its resources for the benefit

of Muslims in general. At the be-

ginning of the year, the General

Administration for Education in

Makkah Province announced the

completion of rectification of the

status of 70,000 male and female

students in all stages of educa-

tion in the community schools.

It also announced the success

of the last stage of the project to

establish 121 schools. Of these,

109 were primary schools for

boys and girls and 12 were in-

termediate schools for boys and

girls to serve 41,312 students.

The education environment

was improved. Accessibility to

the schools was facilitated for

students and teachers. These

schools were given numbers by

the ministry. Qualified teachers

were assigned to them during

the last transfer operation carried

out by the General Administra-

tion for Education. A total of 48

schools – 24 for boys and 24 for

girls – serving 13,397 students

were relocated.

in the schools. The teachers

lacked efficiency and qualifica-

tions to educate children. There

were wide discrepancies in the

languages, dialects and vernacu-

lars being used. Furthermore,

there was coeducation. There

was a disparity between male

and female students who were

legal residents in the Kingdom

and those who were not. Further-

more, several students did not

have any identification papers,”

he explained.

Negative aspects

According to Al-Harthi, there

was a dire need to reorganize

these schools and rid them of

their negative aspects. Vari-

ous education committees were

formed and they paid frequent

visits to the community schools

and the katateeb. The majority

of the committees recommended

that the Education Administra-

tion take over supervision of