Helping young students grow

Students in the University's neighboring villages of Thuwal and Qadimah were delighted to receive school supplies as part of the KAUST Sixth Annual Back to School Campaign in September. Photos courtesy of Saudi Affairs.

In September, KAUST Social Responsibility launched the Sixth Annual Back to School Campaign to support 700 students in the University's neighboring villages of Thuwal and Qadimah as they started the new academic year.

In addition to the usual collection of essential school supplies, this year included an exciting component— robotics kits. This hands-on educational activity allows students to build their own walking robots while learning to problem-solve, think creatively and engage in new ways of learning. The kits are easy to use, and they encourage children to acquire new knowledge and skills in the exciting field of robotics. Perhaps best of all, it gives children a new perspective on how the field of robotics is changing the world as we currently know it.

“We really appreciate all the work that KAUST has done and the University's active interest in the Back to School Project,” said Abdullah Al Qarni, a teacher at the Al-Tabarani elementary school in Thuwal. “This initiative helps prepare young students, and we rely on them on for the advancement of our country.”

This year, the outstanding support of The KAUST School (TKS) and community volunteers played a key role in making the effort a success. From promoting the campaign to packing bags and visiting schools, the dedication of TKS and community volunteers made a major impact. In the final stage of this year’s campaign, TKS students and teachers visited Thuwal and interacted with their peers, exploring educational collaboration opportunities and ways to stay in touch during the school year.

“My experience was good,” said TKS fifth grader Muhammadali Harakeh. “I talked with the students and I made new friends who made me laugh.”

The Back to School campaign is part of Social Responsibility's Young Learners Development Program (YLDP), which aims to improve learning environments and educational outcomes for students at the elementary, middle and high school levels by working with local community partners to ensure needs are met for maximum impact in the classroom and beyond. New areas of YLDP are in development in sports, science, design and technology; these will involve both TKS students and teachers who are interested to share their time, knowledge and ideas with their peers in Thuwal and Qadimah.