Community service and outreach is a central function of institutions of higher learning throughout the Kingdom. Under the leadership of His Excellency King Khalid University Rector, Prof. Falleh R. M. Al-Solamy, the supervision of Academic Development and Quality Vice Rector, Dr. Merzin Al-Shahrani, and the planning and hard work of Community Service and Continuing Education Dean, Dr. Omar Aqeel, King Khalid University is at the forefront for community service and activities.
Through a variety of programs, the Deanship of Community Service and Continuing Education is raising the skills and capabilities of the general public. By encouraging communication and developing partnerships among various entities across the Kingdom, the university is also creating synergies among the various stakeholders leading to exponential improvements within our schools and our communities.
Dean Aqeel stressed that volunteer work especially that which gives time, energy, and expertise to others, is a hallmark of the most advanced societies and the pinnacle of human development. “Our work is founded upon clearly delineated goals and values and is closely supervised. This will ensure that our projects will remain focused, effective, and immune to potential misuse,” said Aqeel. He then explained that the Bader Initiative is linked to the 2020 National Transformation Program through the 5th strategic goal. This encourages volunteer work in conjunction with nonprofit organizations. These programs require creativity, personal sacrifice, and hard work; all of which must be maintained under the penumbra of our core values that make the Kingdom what it is today.
Dean Aqeel further noted that these programs are designed to help meet the needs of the labor market in accordance with the 4th strategic goal of Vision 2030. He said: “Increasing the employment rate within the Kingdom is critical. Enhanced labor participation through higher education and training programs is a fundamental goal. Achieving this will improve the economy, lead to greater productivity, and will inure to the benefit of everyone in our society.” He further noted that vocational training would be exceptionally helpful for the younger generation who will be entering the labor market in large numbers in the coming years.
In order to achieve these objectives, the Deanship offers a number of critical need diplomas and training courses. Among the most prominent activities undertaken by the university during the year (1438-1439 AH) was the implementation of an integrated training program system in which educational institutions, graduates, educators, and the general public all came together to achieve their aspirations. This in-turn will fulfill the lauded goals as set forth in the 2020 National Transformation Program and Vision 2030.
Dean Aqeel also reviewed some of the accomplishments of the past year. These include restructuring of the deanship and the associated administrative units to be more efficient and effective. Also, the deanship has established cooperative relationships with other government agencies and private industry. This is helping to develop the critical infrastructure and professional relationships necessary to implement the various programs and ensure their continued success. By way of example, the Abha Chamber of Commerce is now a permanent partner in program development. Also, the deanship’s electronic media infrastructure and personal development resources are now fully available for program activities. As a result, many of the programs are now fully accredited by the Ministry of Civil Service.
In terms of figures, the Deanship has completed a number of programs and courses in various fields during the academic year 1438/1439 AH which included hundreds of participants from the university and the society. The number of programs during the first semester reached 84 programs and 3,904 participants. In the second semester and summer program, it included 47 programs and 1,654 participants. The deanship also contributed in the implementation of a variety of training courses in cooperation with a number of departments and colleges in the university, and was granted Rector Al-Solamy’s approval to hold English language courses in various fields such as military, health, tourism, and marketing).
In the management field, the deanship also organized training workshops and offered diplomas while preparing models and questionnaires to measure the impact of training on society and the university’s influence. The deanship also created diploma model descriptions described in human resources management, accounting, e-Security inspection, safety, health, and the basics of reading, in order to be adopted and classified by the Ministry of Civil Service in cooperation with the relevant colleges and departments, in addition to developing the deanship's approved courses such as the office management diploma and computer diploma in addition to nine different diplomas.
In the context of community service, community partnerships and volunteer work, the deanship implemented a number of agreements, partnerships, and initiatives that consisted of preparing an educational grant agreement between the Social Welfare Fund and King Khalid University, represented by the Deanship of Community Service and Continuing Education. In a meeting between the two entities, the topic of participation in the 1439 AH summer tourist resort was discussed, and the framework of the partnership was set. This was complemented by the development of a preliminary vision for community partnerships with public schools and a landmark community initiative in regards to His Royal Highness Prince Turki bin Talal bin Abdulaziz's 'Green Initiative'. All of these activities were underscored by a local committee in the deanship to document and follow all community service programs and initiatives.
Within the attempt to build social relations, the deanship carried out several important visits to a number of bodies in the region. It participated in a workshop with His Royal Highness the Deputy Governor of the Asir Region to form the organizational structure of the 'Sandak Volunteer Team'. It also participated in the preparation of the volunteer team, which was a collaboration with the Awareness and Cultural Unit in the Department of Social Welfare. The unit also arranged the Ramadan Breakfast Campaign for 350 people, summer tent activities, a visit to the Police Directorate of the Asir Region, and a number of official bodies and local organizations.
Among the deanship's approved programs, the deanship was granted an approval for the 'Ryada Project', which monitors the performance indicators and documents various community service programs and the number of implementing agencies. In addition, the deanship was also granted the approval of the 'Bader Website Project' for employee and staff volunteer work and initiatives.
On the level of community partnership, the Deanship has implemented five training programs aimed at social collaboration with different parties which have successfully served 1,347 students, teachers, administrators and leaders from the university, and has also organized a series of training courses that help prepare females for the job market requirements in accord with the Ministry of Labor and Social Development Standards and Regulations. In relation to the Student Activities Unit, the female unit held a number of workshops and activities that have served 1,145 members, which included a range of activities in all segments of society. The deanship visited the Hope Institution for Hearing Impairment in Abha. It also visited patients in Abha General Hospital, while the female department visited the Abha Hospital for Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The deanship was the leading sponsor in many events and social activities such as the International Day of Civil Defense, Abha Festival, Abha Capital of Arab Tourism 2017, the International Day for Children, Abha Tenth Summer Tent, and the Executive Plan to Combat the Drug Abuse.