E-Learning Initiatives Help Realise Saudi’s Vision of a Knowledge-Based Economy

Growth of e-learning in KSA marks the next phase of educational development in the country
Riyadh, KSA, Dubai, UAE, 7 October 2013: As Saudi Arabia realises its long-term goals of improving literacy and school attendance rates, embedding e-learning in Saudi schools and universities is fast becoming the next major education challenge for the country.
Saudi Arabia has achieved remarkable improvements in education over recent years, with literacy hitting an all-time high of 96 per cent, and 99 per cent of school age children in the Kingdom now attending school. With basic education indicators firmly on a pathway of success, education experts are now looking to e-learning as the next focus of Saudi Arabia’s education policy.
Establishing e-learning as the norm in Saudi educational institutions is already well underway. Higher education institutions have undergone major changes in recent years, as they offer blended learning options, moving away from entirely face-to-face delivery. Digital learning tools, such as e-texts and online learning systems are becoming increasingly common in universities throughout the country.
The Kingdom’s burgeoning e-learning capability was the focus of the recent conference hosted by the Saudi National Centre for E-Learning and Distance Learning and King Khalid University. The theme of the conference was “Development and Shareability in E-Learning” and brought together e-learning deans from universities across Saudi Arabia and around the world. Leading international experts in education technology discussed the latest innovations in digital education, and how they can be leveraged to improve the learning outcomes of Saudi tertiary students.
A speaker at the Conference, Dr Jeff Borden, Pearson’s Vice President of Instruction and Academic Strategy and Lead at the Centre of Online Learning, has had global experience in designing e-learning programmes for learning institutions. Dr Borden believes that entrenching a culture of e-learning in higher education is also critical to the Saudi Government’s goal of achieving a diversified, knowledge based economy.
“Saudi Arabia’s commitment to improving education has led to significant gains in the country’s key education indicators. According to data from the World Bank and the OECD, illiteracy in Saudi Arabia has fallen to below 4 per cent and more and more school leavers are now entering higher education. The country is now in an excellent position to continue to build on these significant educational and associated economic gains by harnessing the power of digital learning solutions”.
“International research demonstrates that the dissemination of e-learning technology in universities contributes meaningfully to the development of knowledge based economies. This is in part because e-learning helps more people engage in higher levels of learning as historical learning constraints such as distance or lack of time are broken down. E-learning also fosters the skills necessary in the development and building of a knowledge based economy, which in turn leads to growth in productivity, entrepreneurship, and competitiveness. By embracing e-learning solutions, Saudi universities are therefore contributing to the long-term prosperity of the country as a whole.”  
Mohammed Asiri, Pearson’s Country Manager in Saudi Arabia believes that the educational technology adopted by universities in Saudi Arabia will be effective in improving student learning outcomes and lead to tangible improvements in institutions’ results.

“Pearson has been working closely with a number of tertiary institutions across the country to assist in achieving a sustainable transformation to technology enabled education. Pearson is dedicated to providing the right expertise and infrastructure for the availability, shareability, and re-useability of quality learning systems and content. We are helping universities embrace the e-learning revolution, and thereby helping to ensure to today’s students are equipped with the skills necessary to thrive in Saudi Arabia’s increasingly technology-reliant workplaces”. 

Third Party English Language Providers to Meet New Quality Standards.

Pearson secures contract with T4EDU to develop new standards for providers and monitor improvements to English language training in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a project under King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz’s Project for Development of Public Education.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 25 January 2014: Developing the standard of English language providers in Saudi Arabia is at the centre of a new project to be delivered by Tatweer, Saudi Arabia’s strategic education services company, and Pearson, the world’s leading learning company.  

The English Partnership Management Project is a flagship programme of the Tatweer Company for Educational Services (T4EDU) in implementing King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz’s Project for Development of Public Education, and forms part of Saudi Arabia’s broader education reform agenda to improve the quality of teaching and learning across the Kingdom.
The project aims to improve the English language proficiency of teachers in order to enhance the quality of English language teaching throughout the Kingdom.  Under the contract, Pearson has been tasked with ensuring that the quality of English language instruction delivered to teachers meets stringent, international standards.  Throughout this project, Pearson will monitor the performance of third party English language training providers who work with the Kingdom’s English language teachers.  
The programme will feature a number of initiatives affecting Saudi Arabia’s English language training providers, including:
·         Creating a new qualification framework.
·         Evaluating and certifying English language providers.
·         Monitoring providers through a Quality Assurance and Performance Framework that includes performance indicators, benchmarks and data collection methods.
·         Conducting quality assurance audits of English language training providers and providing regular reports to T4EDU.
·         Conducting language testing to monitor teacher proficiency before, during and after the period of consultancy.
·         Building capacity within T4EDU to continue a programme of certification, evaluation and quality assurance of English language training providers.
Mohammed Asiri, Pearson’s Country Manager in Saudi Arabia, says: “Pearson is honoured and delighted to have the opportunity to further establish ourselves as a leading provider of high quality educational solutions in the region and to contribute to Saudi Arabia’s educational development. The signing of this contract follows an announcement earlier in 2013 that Pearson will provide teacher training for the country’s mathematics and science teachers.
Pearson will draw on its access to leading international education experts to ensure the English Partnership Management Project meets international standards and best practice in educational quality assurance, all the while tailoring the delivery of the rollout to the needs of the Saudi Arabian market”.
Pearson has recently announced a public, global commitment to ensure the efficacy of all its products and services to measurably improve the learning outcomes of those that use them. Mr Asiri says that Pearson’s ‘efficacy promise’ will apply to all of Pearson’s work in the Arab world, particularly the T4EDU project: “Like all large-scale Pearson projects, the English Partnership Management Programme will be scrutinised to ensure it leads to positive, demonstrable benefits for learners. Pearson is committed to helping learners everywhere progress their lives through learning. We are backing up this promise through our new global education strategy, which includes an Efficacy Framework – Pearson’s approach for ensuring its products and services enable students to learn what they need to make progress. We look forward to reviewing the results of the English Partnership Management Programme following its implementation, and we are confident it will lead to a significant improvement in the quality of English language teaching and learning in Saudi Arabia.”
The English Partnership Management Programme begins early in 2014.

New Tatweer Project to Improve Kingdom’s Standard of Math and Science Teaching.

Over 100,000 Math and Science teachers under King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz’s Project for Development of Public Education to undergo world-class professional development training across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Riyadh, KSA, 21 January 2014:Tatweer Company for Educational Services (T4EDU) the exclusive executer of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz’s Project for Development of Public Education, Saudi Arabia’s strategic education services company, has announced that the world’s leading learning company, Pearson, will deliver a flagship project to provide Saudi Arabian teachers with professional development training aimed at improving learning outcomes in the Kingdom.

The Math and Science Teacher Development Programme is a ground-breaking initiative of the Tatweer Company for Educational Services (T4EDU). The project forms part of Saudi Arabia’s broader education reforms, which are seeking to raise the standard of teaching across the entire spectrum of Saudi’s education system, and increase the country’s standing in international educational comparison tables.
Pearson is working with Tatweer to roll out professional development programmes for the Kingdom’s mathematics and science teachers, with the aim of enhancing student achievement in these disciplines. The programme, which can take up to two years to complete, will provide participants with an advanced level of content knowledge and pedagogy in math and science instruction. The programme will promote instructional excellence and innovation through the professional development courses based on internationally recognised, research based principals of professional learning. The programme incorporates online, face to face and self-study training, giving participants maximum flexibility and personalization in their learning.
Professional Development Director at Pearson in the Middle East, Amanda Collins says at the centre of this programme is a train-the-trainer initiative, which will see 500 Saudi-based educators undergo an intensive programme to form an active community of math and science educators who can deliver the programmes throughout the country in the future. 
“Pearson will train a core team of staff from the Ministry of Education who will be be accredited to deliver the Math and Science Teacher Development Programme to primary and secondary math and science teachers throughout Saudi Arabia. This capacity-building focus of Pearson’s agreement with Tatweer will ensure this new math and science pedagogy is firmly embedded in schools across the Kingdom, and help develop an on-going culture of professional development and learning amongst Saudi teachers – something that will inevitably benefit local learners”. 
The Kingdom’s Government has made student achievement in the fields of English language, science, technology, engineering and math a priority in its recent education initiatives, given the importance of these subjects to the future economic development of the country. It is hoped that the introduction of the Math and Science programme will aid in the implementation of the new Saudi Math and Science Curriculum and increase student interest and engagement in these areas. Encouraging student success in these fields will also help to alleviate some of the demand the region is experiencing for school and university graduates with strong math and science skills.
Pearson’s Senior Vice President for Professional Development, Sherry Preiss, says international research consistently shows the importance of teacher education to improving student outcomes across all subject areas:
“The Math and Science Teacher Development Programme recognises the research-based evidence that the biggest single impact on student achievement is teacher quality. Therefore, in order to improve the level of math and science success amongst Saudi school students, there is a strong need to build both teachers’ subject area knowledge and subject-specific pedagogy skills. These programmes will do that by developing teachers’ abilities to implement practical, interactive, teaching strategies for leading students in inquiry based learning”.
The programme is intended to empower the Kingdom’s educators by combining Saudi cultural values with international best practices. Designed with the experience of Saudi educators in mind, local content and pedagogy experts will help ensure all resources meet the needs of Saudi teachers.
Pearson’s Country Manager for Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Asiri, says that creating culturally specific programmes was a priority for both Pearson and Tatweer:
“Pearson has worked with millions of learners and educators in more than 85 countries around the world. If there is one thing this international experience has shown us, it is that learning is at its most successful when it is tailored and relevant to those undertaking it. That is why with these programmes we have been sure to adapt the language, content, examples and case studies used throughout the course so they are contextualised for the Saudi learner. Great care has been taken to ensure the entire programme is in keeping with local values”.
About Pearson:
Pearson is the world’s largest learning company, operating in more than 85 countries around the world, bringing powerful learning solutions to millions of learners every year. Pearson takes learning personally. Our courses and resources are available in print, online and through multi-lingual packages, helping people learn whatever, wherever and however they choose. Our education imprints combine 150 years of experience and include online support for every learner.  Our innovative and dynamic digital learning products and services are changing the learning landscape all around the globe and our qualifications are positively transforming the futures of learners of all ages and backgrounds.  Pearson can boast a comprehensive English Language offering that consists of engaging content and cutting edge testing solutions. To find out more, visit www.pearson.com.
About T4EDU:
T4EDU is one of the subsidiaries of Tatweer Holding Company, a government owned company and the exclusive executer of Tatweer. T4EDU currently works on implementing a number strategic educational projects and programs that aim at developing the practice professional development in public education.            

For more information about the Tatweer Company for Educational Services (TCES) Math and Science Teacher Development Programme, please contact amanda.collins@pearson.com