Dubai/Riyadh: Saudi Arabia has honoured two Saudi winners in the annual Arab Reading Challenge (ARC), launched by the UAE last year.
The male competition winner is Mohammad Mukhtar Al Salman, in grade seven from the Eastern Region. The female competition winner is Shatha Basha Al Toweirqi, in grade five from Taif.
Both winners at the Saudi level have now entered the final stage of the overall ARC, which will be held in Dubai.
The winners were honoured in Riyadh by Dr Ahmad Al Eisa, Saudi Minister of Education and ARC Secretary General Najla Al Shamsi.
Al Eisa also honoured the winner of the best supervisor award, Nawal Mohammad Al Jarallah, and the winner of the best school award — Ibn Khaldoun School in Yanbu. He said: “We are proud of our students in Saudi Arabia, who have competed in the Arab Reading Challenge for the second year in a row, and who have read thousands of books throughout the academic year. We wish our hero Mohammad Al Salman and our heroine Shatha Al Toweirqi the best of luck as they enter the final stage of the competition.”
He added: “I extend my sincere gratitude to UAE for launching the [ARC]. I commend all efforts aimed at strengthening student culture and reading, and enriching Arabic content. This pioneering Arab initiative is in line with the Kingdom’s goals to develop a future generation of people who are raised intellectually.”
ARC Secretary General Najla Al Shamsi said: “We are proud of the high participation levels displayed by Saudi students. People in Saudi Arabia have shown great interest in the challenge, which is in line with their goals to enhance the cultural knowledge of Arab youth. We wish the finalists the best of luck in the final stage of the competition in Dubai. We have seen high levels of competition throughout the region, including in Saudi Arabia where we see a generation of avid readers that present a bright future for the Kingdom and the region as a whole.”
The minister also honoured all 10 finalists at the male and female levels of the competition. In total, more than 629,000 students from various grades made it to the second phase of the Arab Reading Challenge in its second session. Two hundred and eighty students made it to the final qualifiers in Saudi Arabia, as well as five supervisors and four schools (out of 7,792), who participated to win the title of best supervisor and best school in the kingdom.
ARC was launched in 2015 by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. It represents the largest pan-Arab reading project, and aims to promote a sustainable model for reading through an integrated system of student-supervisor follow-ups and support, as well as monetary incentives for students, supervisors and schools across the Arab world.