In the school organizational setting, various frames play integral roles in facilitating a streamlined management of the learning activities. Notably, education organizations depend on the collaborative efforts of different departments that facilitate the delivery of quality learning experiences. The main frames applicable in the school organizational environment incorporate the aspects of the structure, human resources (HR), politics, and the symbol of the institution.
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Thus, fostering the efficiency of the mentioned frames goes a long way in promoting the realization of the educational facility’s goals and objectives (Hamdan, 2014). The education system in Saudi Arabia seeks to ensure that all schools in Middle Eastern country integrate the structural, HR, political, and the symbolic frames. In the era of unprecedented technological changes, the education sector is prompted to adopt the advancements to enhance learning experiences. The trend has led to the development of digital citizenry in the education sector (Manning, 2012).
Nonetheless, the structural frame in the Saudi Arabia school system has demonstrated progress towards the adoption of technology primarily, through the embracement of digital communication systems. The HR frame has also witnessed considerable improvements in online recruitment processes by using multiple and different online platforms for advertising vacant positions among other processes. The symbolic and political frames have also witnessed changes influenced by technology in the school setting.
However, some education organizations in Saudi Arabia have failed to address or promote digital citizenship in the school setting. Evidently, both the teaching staff and students in Saudi Arabia have put in place little effort in embracing technology in the learning processes, and thus, made small strides towards joining the digital citizenry community.
Notably, school organizations in Saudi Arabia observing the K-12 classroom system lacks technology vision statements to guide the various activities of the institution towards with respect to the digital trends in the sector (Alrashidi & Phan, 2015). For these reasons, this paper examines the problem of failing to address and promote digital citizenship in the Saudi Arabia educational environment by considering the structural, HR, political, and symbolic frames.
The Symbolic Frame
The symbolic frame in the school environment setting infers to the elements that facilitate the construction of the institution’s identity. As such, if the school organization seeks to develop an identity likened to excellence or success, it prioritizes the issues that require consideration and development to reinforce the symbolic frame. Therefore, the school organization ought to focus on the establishment of a culture that pursues the realization of the school’s identity. For this reason, school organizations set goals and objectives that facilitate the reinforcement of their identity.
The mission and vision statements of an educational organization form an integral part of its symbolic frame since they guide learning activities towards the realization of set goals and objectives (Smith & Abouammoh, 2013). Therefore, the extent to which the school organization engages in activities that promote the attainment of its vision and mission demonstrates commitment in reinforcing the symbolic frame. In turn, such efforts enhance the creation of the institution’s identity.
Thus, in the wake of widespread digitalization, the management of learning institutions ought to put in place efforts that facilitate the attainment of the organization’s mission and vision statements, an important way of promoting digital citizenship.
The mission and vision statements of most education institutions in Saudi Arabia cover relatively narrow scopes. Notably, the extent of the vision and mission statements focuses on the delivery of quality education to students from the local communities (Alrashidi & Phan, 2015). Thus, failing to incorporate the digital citizenship element that would attract students from abroad to enroll in the Saudi Arabian schools undermines their ability to reinforce the symbolic frame at a global scale, in a society that embraces technology. Notably, a significant number of schools in Saudi Arabia lack websites that reveal valuable information about the school including the vision and mission statements.
As a result, restricting the vision and mission statements’ coverage to only the locals has undermined efforts towards exposing the identity of the school to the greater world community comprising of teachers, students, and parents who embrace digital communication. Therefore, the failure of Saudi Arabian school organizations to incorporate the essence of digital communication in underlining the vision and mission statements is a major problem that undermines the functionality of their individual symbolic frames leading to poor digital citizenship (Smith & Abouammoh, 2013).
In a school organization, the rituals and ceremonies it conducts comprise an integral part of the symbolic frame. The rituals and ceremonies also facilitate the sustainability of the organization’s culture, and thus, facilitate the attainment of its goals and objectives. In this respect, rituals and ceremonies including annual general meetings (AGMs), graduation ceremonies, achievement awards, and conventions among other practices require regular consideration for the sake of reinforcing the symbolic frame of the school organization. In this light, the digital citizenship aspect of education organizations necessitates the embracement of rituals and ceremonies practiced commonly by a majority of learning institutions in the world.
However, different schools in Saudi Arabia maintain their traditional rituals and practices to denote their culture. Notably, most of the learning institutions do not have annual achievement award ceremonies that are common in the Western world school organizations. Additionally, the schools barely use the internet and social media to share the ritual events and ceremonies associated with academic and co-curricular engagements. Furthermore, failing to borrow a leaf from the rituals and ceremonies conducted by most schools that have embraced digital citizenship bar Saudi Arabian schools from enjoying the benefits of cultural diversity (Smith & Abouammoh, 2013).
For the realization of considerable progress towards promoting digital citizenship in the education systems in Saudi Arabia, considering several solutions covering the individual frames is important. As identified earlier, the structural, HR, political, and HR frames unearth some issues that require improvement to match the global trends spearheaded by technology. Therefore, addressing the problems in the individual frames to facilitate digital citizenry in Saudi Arabia schools is relevant in the context of this paper.
The Structural Frame
As noted earlier, the school system in Saudi Arabia employs a top-down approach in facilitating the decision-making processes. The approach is problematic since it bars the participation of the parties significantly affected by the decisions and policies formulated and implemented by the management (Hamdan, 2014). Thus, solving the problem requires the embracement of the bottom-up approach when addressing the issues that affect the management of school organizations in the country.
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Evidently, digital citizenship encourages the participation of all interested members in crucial decision-making endeavors to bolster the development of practical solutions to handle issues that undermine effective functionality. In this regard, engaging all the key stakeholders in addressing the problems affecting the school organization ensures that the solutions realized satisfy the varying and unique needs of students, parents, staff, and the community surrounding the school. The engagement could also integrate technology such as has tags on social media, and online surveys to obtain the views and opinions of different stakeholders in the Saudi Arabian education sector.
Furthermore, introducing a digital citizenship curriculum in Saudi Arabia would allow the entire structures in the sector to employ technology in a way that facilitates the delivery of quality learning experiences in the Middle Eastern country (Smith & Abouammoh, 2013). The process would entail the use of e-mails and other digital communication platforms when teaching, issuing and collecting assignments, and providing feedback to students regarding their academic progress. Similarly, the staff of instruction could employ technology to enhance inter-professional and collaborative relationships in the school organization. Such approaches would heighten the move towards the adoption of the digital citizenship concept in the Saudi Arabian education sector, a key strategy towards promoting the quality of teaching in the country.
The Human Resource Frame
Fostering the efficacy of the HR school environment is crucial for facilitating the realization of the school organization’s objectives and goals, satisfactorily. Mainly, the HR frame concentrates on fulfilling the needs of the employees including the principal, managers, teachers, and other staff besides students on work-study program in the institution. Nonetheless, the schools in Saudi Arabia have not taken into consideration the essence of using technology, especially e-HR in fulfilling the dynamic needs of the employees in the school (Alrashidi & Phan, 2015).
For instance, not all the teaching staff members have embraced the aspect of communication through the e-mail thereby, leading to issues of miscommunication. Therefore, the incorporation of e-HR and e-learning particularly through digital communication is essential since it ensures that both students and teachers use technology to streamline their educational and pedagogical endeavors.
Further, the school administration ought to concentrate on facilitating not only the development of the skills of the students but also that of the teaching staff and other professionals in the school organization (Manning, 2012). In a bid to keep pace with the digital citizenry trend, school organizations in Saudi Arabia ought to consider training their workforce through the online platforms that provide relevant information regarding new developments in the education sector.
Moreover, the education sector in Saudi Arabia needs to consider the incorporation of technology in the different HR processes involving recruitment, training, data storage and retrieval, and performance management (Smith & Abouammoh, 2013). In so doing, the schools would be in a better position to attract talented employees from different Middle Eastern countries and beyond. Further, the use of online training programs would allow potential employees from remote areas to acquire the necessary skills that would facilitate the realization of the school’s goals and objectives. Such efforts would also enhance the offering of financial and social incentives to the teachers for greater service delivery (Manning, 2012).
The Political Frame
The political frame of any given organization is crucial since it concentrates on the aspects of power and competition. The centralized characteristics of the Saudi Arabian schools are based on a hierarchical system that ascribes authority and power to the senior officials in the organization. Notably, the education system in Saudi Arabia is faced with the challenge of union strikes and parental demonstrations emanating from sensitive policy decisions (Hamdan, 2014). For this reason, the distribution of power equally would allow the school organizations to enjoy effective leadership in an era where digital citizenry agitates for equitable distribution of power and authority in the school organization.
Additionally, embracing the aspect of racial and ethnic diversity in the leadership aspect of school organization management is crucial for reinforcing the political frame. In this regard, encouraging individuals from diverse racial and ethnic cohorts to contest in the elections seeking to fill vacant staff and students positions is crucial. In doing so, the digital community would identify the Saudi Arabian schools as institutions that embrace racial and ethnic diversity.
Further, pursuing women to contest for the key leadership positions in the school environment facilitates the move towards promoting justice (Smith & Abouammoh, 2013). Thus, allowing women to assume leadership positions in the school ensures the equitable distribution of power, a feature supported by digital citizenship in the school setting. The promotion of gender equality in leadership goes a long way in improving the functionality of the digital citizenry community in the education sector.
Moreover, the introduction of digital polls in the electioneering activities within the school organizations in Saudi Arabia would be essential in fostering the move towards digital citizenship. The integration of technology in the distribution of power and authority would also reduce conflicts caused by malpractices experienced in the traditional elections (Manning, 2012). Therefore, keeping pace with the advancements in the political arena creates a school environment that is conscious about the changing political landscape globally.
The Symbolic Frame
The symbolic frame is a crucial element of the school organization since it enhances the identity of the school concerning the mission and vision statements besides the rituals and ceremonies it ought to uphold. The educational organizations in Saudi Arabia need to incorporate technology vision and mission statements. In doing so, the organizations would show interest in creating an environment that welcomes digital learning and communication. Through digital learning and communication, the schools would be in a better position to attract more students from various regions beyond Saudi Arabia (Smith & Abouammoh, 2013). Furthermore, incorporating the technology aspect prompts the school organization to integrate technology in the learning experiences, and thus, promote digital citizenship.
The educational institutions in Saudi Arabia ought to uphold the essence of running websites that provide important information about them including the vision and mission statements (Hamdan, 2014). The use of websites and the social media also foster the interactive aspect of the management by communicating with parents, schools, and other stakeholders in the education sector. Such interactions promote the identity of the school internationally besides revealing the culture it upholds. Since the culture is a reflection of the organization’s vision and mission, tolerating the culture of students, teachers, and parents from diverse backgrounds symbolizes the organization’s interest in fostering digital citizenship.
Moreover, reinforcing the ritual and ceremony elements of the symbolic frame is essential for the embracement of digital citizenship among the schools in Saudi Arabia (Alrashidi & Phan, 2015). Therefore, Saudi Arabia ought to show commitment in participating in international conventions through the multiple and different online platforms, share information regarding the valued rituals and ceremonies of the school, and adopting necessary rituals and ceremonies practiced by other school organizations. The employment of digital communication would be integral in facilitating the implementation of the identified interventions for the symbolic frame.
Analysis and Conclusion
The various organizational structures play integral functions in facilitating the realization of objectives and goals. However, the education system in Saudi Arabia has shown slow progress towards addressing or promoting digital citizenry. The structural frame in the country’s education sector relies heavily on a top-down administrative approach that bars the participation of students and teachers in important decision-making processes. Therefore, embracing the bottom-up tactic would be integral in fostering digital citizenry in the country.
The HR frame in Saudi Arabia’s school system lacks since it shows little concern for financial and social incentives to motivate the teaching workforce. Therefore, besides focusing facilitating the improvement of financial and social incentives offered to teachers, the Saudi Arabian governments should consider the integration of technology in the recruitment and training of the workforce.
The reinforcement of the political frame should focus on the decentralization of power and authority as well as the incorporation of technology in the electioneering processes. Efforts towards combating gender discrimination in leadership positions are also relevant for the creation of an environment that supports digital citizenship. Moreover, the symbolic aspect requires reinforcement through increased use of the internet in a way that raises the awareness regarding the cultures embraced by the Saudi Arabia schools.
In conclusion, the Saudi Arabian education system has the potential of reaching greater heights if its puts in place efforts that promote digital citizenship. Notably, the schools have shown progress in integrating technology in the schools amid at a slow pace. Therefore, the implementation of the identified solutions is essential for the realization of digital citizenship in the Saudi Arabian schools.
Alrashidi, O., & Phan, H. (2015). Education context and English teaching and learning in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: An overview. English Language Teaching, 8(5), 33-44.
Hamdan, A. K. (2014). The reciprocal and correlative relationship between learning culture and online education: A case from Saudi Arabia. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 15(1), 309-336.
Manning, K. (2012). Organizational theory in higher education. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
Smith, L., & Abouammoh, A. (2013). Higher Education in Saudi Arabia. London, UK: Springer.