Saudi Arabia has most probably spawned more terrorists than any society in the world. Its education system gave birth to Osama bin Laden and fifteen of the 19 World Trade Center bombing. Saudi schools teach a narrow interpretation of life which depicts non-Muslims as evil and disparages their religious beliefs. Pakistani Madrassas, which are heavily funded by Saudi Arabia, are hotbeds of radicalism and terror. Saudi Arabia is among the few places in the world in which women can not drive a car and the nation’s laws grant to husbands power over the lives of their wives.However, King Abdullah is determined to make changes in the educational system before he dies– or dies in the effort?
The king placed new people in charge of the ministry of education and even appointed a woman to a key position and gave them orders to create a modern education system. Mohammed Youssef, a professor of education at King Abdulaziz University, says, “we have been calling for such changes for a long time.” Everyone knows that one of the most important reasons for terrorists emerging from Saudi schools is they are taught the language of hate rather than of respect for other views and religions.
Reformers want to change textbooks to eliminate hate, explain in an intelligent manner the ideas of other people and societies, and draw upon modern concepts in science. King Abdullah seeks to create a new university centered on technology and science which would be open to both males and females, both sexes would be in class together, and many restrictions on women would be waived. If the king can pull this one off, he will impact not merely education, but the very basis of his society.