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Saudi education official dismissed over controversial photo

Doctored photo shows King Faisal signing UN Charter with Yoda

Image Credit: Courtesy Okaz
Ahmad Bin Mohammad Al Eisa, Education Minister of Saudi Arabia

Manama: Saudi Arabia's education minister has dismissed the ministry's undersecretary for curricula and educational programmes Mohammad Bin Atiyah Al Harithi over a blunder in a school textbook.

The minister, Ahmad Bin Mohammad Al Eisa, also ordered that those who had been tasked with reviewing and endorsing school books be dismissed and reinstated in their original professions.

Al Eisa said that all reviews and printing of schools books would be carried out by a company for the development of education services, Saudi daily Okaz reported on its website on Monday.

An ad-hoc committee to be headed by the deputy minister is to be formed with the specific aim of restructuring curricula and educational programmes.

The education ministry last week came under fire mainly on social media for printing a textbook with a doctored black-and-white photograph of King Faisal signing the charter of the United Nations with the little green Star Wars character Yoda perched next to him.

The ministry rushed to withdraw the textbook with the accidental picture while it offered apologies and regrets over the inadvertent error.

The ministry said that it had launched an investigation to determine the origin of the error and that it started printing a corrected copy of the textbook.

A Saudi artist, Abdullah Al Sheri said that he had worked on the picture of King Faisal with the little green Star Wars character.

The 26-year-old said that it was part of a series in which he added film characters to photographs of major moments in Arab history.

He insisted that he did the work for fun without the intent of offending anyone and that he became aware that it was used in an official textbook after he received a message about it on his mobile.