Illustrative image. Image Credit: SPA file

Cairo: Saudi Arabia has launched an initiative for vocational guidance in schools, aimed to link education outputs to job market needs.

Overseen by the government-run Human Resources Development Fund, the initiative was unveiled this week by the Saudi ministers of human resources and education, less than a month after the onset of the new academic year in the kingdom.

The initiative seeks to acquaint students with skills and requirements of the labour market both at present and in the future.

The fund’s Director Turki bin Abdullah said the institution along with its partners looks forward to enhancing the concept of vocational guidance and activating it in Saudi public and private schools at the hands of qualified guides to sychronise education outputs with the labour market needs.

The initiative was unveiled after a similar effort was launched in August of last year in universities in the kingdom collaboration with 67 higher education institutions.

More than 72,000 university students have since benefited from vocational guidance services, according to official figures.

In total, over 1 million people have made use of a related programme over the past eight months, with their satisfaction level reaching 91 per cent, Bin Abdullah said. Meanwhile, around 17,000 people have got access to online vocational guidance sessions, and 103 male and female guides have been groomed.

Addressing the launch ceremony, Undersecretary of the Education Ministry Hassan Kharmy hailed “strategic partnership” between the ministry and the Human Resources Development Fund and other sectors in undertaking the initiative. “Vocational guidance is an all-out developmental programme designed to aid students to adopt and implement englightened educational and vocational options to determine their careers,” he said.

On August 20, more than 6 million students returned to their schools across Saudi Arabia after the end of their summer vacation.