JEDDAH: King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archives (Darah), which holds the memories of the educational renaissance in the Kingdom considers Dar Al-Tawheed School in Taif province as the Kingdom’s first school.
It has provided education for 75 years and opened after King Abdul Aziz ordered the establishment of the first school to teach Arabic and Islamic sciences in 1943.
The Saudi government’s interest in the educational renaissance since its founder’s reign, and the constant follow-up of his descendants, is the distinction of the school, of those who work in it and its educational record. Former pupils have occupied the highest positions in various sectors of the government.
The Darah foundation has archived valuable and historical exhibits in Dar Al-Tawheed museum in the school, which include documents and prizes since it was established, and the records and files of some of its former students and the old teaching systems.
Dar Al-Tawheed School contributed to the advancement of education during the King Abdul Aziz era and motivated parents who were not familiar with the school system.
Some members of society did not wish to send their children to school because they needed them in agriculture or trade, or were just afraid to do so.
Taif province was chosen to have the first school because of its unique location linking Hijaz, Najd and Makkah in addition to its natural environment which helped students to adapt quickly.
King Abdul Aziz met Sheikh Mohammad Bahjat Al-Bitar in 1944 and they discussed the establishment of the school after discussing it with the then Grand Mufti Mohammed ibn Ibrahim Al- Asheikh, and senior scholars.
King Abdul Aziz’s interest in the school came from a qualified national personnel in judiciary, advocacy and a number of administrative jobs in the country.
Sheikh Mohammed Bahjat Al-Bitar was appointed director of the school and a number of elite scholars were chosen to teach there. Dar Al-Tawheed School was the Kingdom’s leading school in teaching Arabic and Islamic sciences. This was reflected by King Abdul Aziz’s interest and supervision, directly linking the school to his palace.
He asked his son, Prince Mansour bin Abdulaziz, to provide the school with all its needs and requirements and to appoint Prince Faisal as chairman of the Prosecutorial Council.
Dar Al-Tawheed was not the only school at the time; nine other primary schools were established in Najd and Al-Ahsa in 1938. Dar Al-Tawheed School, however, was dedicated to students in their second stage of education and developing them in many scientific specializations.
Historians confirmed that Dar Al-Tawheed School was the first core of the Faculty of Islamic Law, which opened in Makkah in 1950. Its first batch of graduates were Dar Al-Tawheed students of 1949.
This completed the educational plan set by King Abdul Aziz.