AI National Olympiad to attract an estimated 300,000 pupils in Saudi Arabia

Registrations for the National Olympiad for Programming and Artificial Intelligence will end on November 28

LISBON , PORTUGAL - 6 November 2019; Sophia The Female Robot during a press conference in the Media Village during day two of Web Summit 2019 at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images)
Powered by automated translation

Saudi Arabia has launched a National Olympiad for Programming and Artificial Intelligence for middle and high school pupils.

The aim of the initiative is to encourage competition among pupils in computer science, preparing the next generation of innovators and coders, as the world embraces AI.

An estimated 300,000 pupils will be selected from three million participants in Saudi Arabia for training in programming and AI.

The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, and King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity (Mawhiba), announced the initiative that is open to all pupils in the kingdom.

The SDAIA said the objective of the competition is to help discover distinguished pupils who will analyse and process algorithmic programming problems.

“It will encourage school students to develop computational thinking and algorithm AI-based design and presenting it as a core skill for learning in the 21st century," it said.

Organisers hope the initiative will contribute to building a knowledgeable and AI-enriched economy.

The project aims to spread the culture of competitive programming and build a creative generation capable of scientific competition in international competitions.

The Scientific Creativity Olympiad will be the final stage of the project, with 35 pupils from the country selected to represent Saudi Arabia internationally at the International Science and Engineering Fair.

Those wishing to participate can register through the official Mawhiba website, with registrations ending on November 28.

There will be two rounds of tests, the first on January 26 and 27 and the next one from April 23-27.

Mawhiba’s Secretary General, Dr Amal Al Hazzaa, said Saudi pupils were keen to participate in Olympiads over the years.

“The competition will build upon the capabilities of the next generation in the fields of advanced technology and help empower them with knowledge and opportunities in AI,” technology consultant Mohannad Almansoor, 42, told The National.

Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in AI, and in May, Deloitte’s AI Institute was officially launched at the Experience Analytics conference in Riyadh.

“The Deloitte AI Institute is a significant milestone in our journey to drive the progress of businesses and public sector organisations in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East through emerging technology applications,” said Yousef Barkawie, Deloitte's Middle East AI and data leader.

Updated: October 03, 2023, 12:46 PM