Looking to the future on our National Day

September 23, 2021
 Dr. Ghadeer Talal Melibari
Dr. Ghadeer Talal Melibari
Dr. Ghadeer Talal Melibari

It is our 91st National Day, with people from around the Kingdom coming together to celebrate the birth of modern Saudi Arabia.

Could it be one of the most important this year?

Activities will take place following a difficult 18 months where COVID-19 has sadly claimed many lives, made many seriously ill and led to a lockdown and disruption to businesses and lives.

While our National Day gives us a chance to reflect on how we came together during the pandemic, it also gives us a chance to look forward.

In many ways, maybe COVID-19 made the world smaller, more easily accessible and within the reach of all of us.

We were forced to embrace modern technology not only to work but to chat to friends and family by using Zoom and other online applications.

It also taught us that we didn’t need to get on a plane to build relationships with businesses, academics and officials in the US, China, Brazil, or anywhere on the planet.

We could do it from the comfort of our home with a simple click of a button.

Whether we like it or not, the world has changed forever.

With this in mind, I believe Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman’s recent announcement of the Human Capability Development Program (HCDP) is one of the most exciting yet.

Through Vision 2030, the government wants to focus on areas such as health, education, universities, infrastructure, recreation and tourism to build Saudi Arabia of tomorrow.

It is the HCDP in particular I believe that will prepare a new generation to combine a high standard of academic knowledge with personal skills that enable them to adapt in an ever-changing world.

This initiative should also help us uncover the opportunities that lie all around us, in our towns and cities.

The Crown Prince said it has been developed to meet the needs and aspirations of all segments of society — guiding people from childhood through their education, training and to the labor market.

While it is built on three pillars, one of the most interesting is the pledge to provide lifelong learning opportunities.

We are never too old to learn new things and perhaps another thing the COVID-19 pandemic taught us is that we must keep adapting and growing as we meet new challenges.

Is it now time to change our mindsets, see the world through new eyes and be open to ideas we may not have seen before?

Possibilities for work and employment lie all around us, and through the creative thinking the HCDP aims to instill in our young, they should be best placed to grasp them.

We are all now educators, teachers and parents, and must play our part in preparing our children by imparting our own knowledge and experiences.

Everyone has a different view on how the future will look, and the last 18 months have shown us that none of us could ever predict it accurately.

But the HCDP should enable our young to adapt and more importantly step outside traditional jobs and expectations, creating their own route to success.

Our National Day this year seems particularly significant.

The country has reached a point where the path we will take to reach Vision 2030 over the next nine years is becoming clearer.

I believe the HCDP will play a very significant role in this.

— Dr. Ghadeer Talal Melibari, holder of PhD in English from University of Hertfordshire, UK, is currently working as Assistant Professor of English teaching at Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah.

September 23, 2021
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