JEDDAH: The King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity (Mawhiba) on Sunday announced that more than 11,000 students have been discovered from its National Program for Gifted Students.
More than 24,000 students from across Saudi Arabia registered in the program in its 11th year.
They sat for Multiple Cognitive Aptitude Test, which is organized annually by Mawhiba, with the Ministry of Education and the National Center for Assessment.
The 11,000 gifted students will be awarded with access to Mawhiba’s specialized services.
The test assesses scientific and mechanical reasoning, mathematical and spatial reasoning, linguistic reasoning and reading comprehension, as well as mental flexibility.
The test is available in Arabic and English through more than 100 centers for students starting in the third grade.
More than 430,000 students have taken the test over the past 11 years and more than 144,000 gifted students have benefited from the different services and programs Mawhiba provides.
Students took the test remotely this year, giving an opportunity to those who live far away from test centers.
Some 55 percent of the testing students were females. Twenty-eight percent were first-level students (grades three, four and five), 34 percent were second-level students (grades six, seven and eight), and 38 percent were third-level students (grades nine, ten and eleven).
Saudi students accounted for 96.5 percent of students while 93 percent of students took the test in Arabic. The other seven percent conducted it in English.
According to Mawhiba, the test is constantly improved to test various mental abilities.
Mawhiba invests in development programs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and other areas, giving students access to the Center for Talented Youth of Johns Hopkins University and Nord Anglia schools.
It also provides specialized programs to refine the skills of talented students in scientific research, the English language, and basic requirements for admission to reputable international universities.
Successful students also get the opportunity to pursue their higher education overseas.
“I have been sponsored by Mawhiba since 2013 in both intermediate and secondary school years. And for being a high academic achiever, I was sponsored again to complete my bachelor’s in sociology in the UK,” Mawhiba student Banan Mohammed told Arab News.
As a secondary school Mawhiba student, Banan Mohammed used to attend extra classes every day in natural science. These extra sessions improved her critical, creative, and analytical thinking skills and her scientific research abilities.
“Mawhiba students had a special adviser in the school who gave us support and guidance not only academically but also emotionally; she used to discuss with us — individually — the challenges we face and fears we feel. She also had great influence in discovering our abilities and skills,” she said.
“This direct support we received was a great motivation for me and my classmates in such a highly competitive environment,” Banan added.
She highlighted that the program’s support goes beyond academic and talent development: “I met ambitious and creative students who had a positive impact on me. Mawhiba is a unique experience that I am always thankful for being part of.”
However, being a social sciences enthusiast, finding opportunities to practice her interests in such fields was challenging due to Mawhiba prioritizing STEM.
“Nonetheless, I received a full scholarship to study sociology at one of the top universities in the world. And I’m hoping for more attention toward social sciences and humanities as I’m sure there are many areas where different sciences can meet and prosper,” she said.
The Multiple Cognitive Aptitude Test unlocks most of Mawhiba’s services and programs for gifted students.
However, all students can participate in open programs and competitions, even if they do not achieve the required grades in the Mawhiba test.
They can access the Mawhiba International Olympiad Program and the National Olympiad for Scientific Creativity, as well as ongoing programs offered throughout the year.
Mawhiba prepares Saudi team to compete in ISEF 2021 competitionSaudi Arabia’s giftedness foundation Mawhiba signs deal to protect intellectual property rights