KAUST, British Council deliver free virtual learning for Saudi youth


JEDDAH — As part of an ongoing partnership with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), the British Council delivered English classes for the university’s annual Science Summer Camp, which was held virtually for the first time.

This summer, schoolchildren from Jeddah and surrounding communities learned English through the British Council’s young learners program, integrated with the KAUST Science Summer Camp (SSC) and virtual English conversation clubs.

Now in its third year, KAUST’s Science Summer Camp aims to cultivate student interest and ability in science and maths, while providing holistic development in skills such as English to help students thrive in their academic journeys.

Grant Butler, director English Language Services British Council, Saudi Arabia, said: “We have a long-standing relationship with KAUST and are delighted to again be involved in their Science Summer Camp and deliver English language lessons as part of the overall program.

He added, “With COVID-19, there is a need to try to maintain a certain sense of normalcy, and part of that normalcy is the camp experience. We hope that the students got the most out of our new online classes and engaged in some fun learning with new friends over the past three weeks.”

In addition to English, SSC offered courses in 21st-century skills and theory, ranging from solar energy, to programming, coding and cyber security.

“Running this year’s Science Summer Camp in a virtual environment was a challenge, but we are delighted with the results and that we were able to show students they can still grow and learn in times of uncertainty,” said Maha Aldubayan, manager of KAUST’s Social Responsibility department, which administers the camp.

“Everyone involved at KAUST and our valued partners at the British Council brought their trademark enthusiasm, patience and imagination to make the best of the opportunity.”

Najah Ashry, vice president for KAUST’s Strategic National Advancement, commented, “KAUST has a crucial role in the Kingdom’s development from all perspectives, and this year highlighted the importance of constant engagement and community support — a hallmark of our efforts since the beginning.

“The British Council has always understood our unique mission, so navigating this new reality with them was as rewarding for us as it was impactful for our local communities. This is just the beginning of what we can do together as we continue to explore innovative models of support for the next generation.” — SG