Two days ago, Faculty of Art and Humanities at King Abdul-Aziz University organized a press conference in Jeddah to announce a new plan, including the introduction of new courses and curricula for the first time. Faculty of Arts and Humanities is the largest faculty at KAU. According to Mohsen Mansouri, the dean, the new plan will emphasize on training to meet the demands of employment market.
First, let me say that I was quite surprised to read that a faculty had held a press conference. Usually, news like this are distributed in the form of press releases, but whatever. What was more interesting though, is the introduction of new courses in work ethics to replace the Islamic studies courses. “Later on, we will introduce courses in dialogue of civilizations, globalization, and Islam’s stance on terrorism,” Mohammed Halwani, head of Islamic Studies department, told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The conservatives probably will not be happy to hear such news, but I think it is a step in the right direction. The decision to drop the Islamic studies courses is good, because students in Saudi Arabia study many similar courses throughout their years in school. I have studied three out of four compulsory courses in Islamic studies since I entered KSU four years ago, and I can tell you it was a total waste of time. It would be much better for students to take courses they can use when they enter the employment market instead of these courses.