Demand for Saudi IT specialists outstrips supply.

Dean of Information Technology at Al-Imam Muhammad Bin Saud Islamic University: “Saudi youth is leading the way to knowledge-based economy in the Kingdom”
Saudi Arabia has impressive penetration of smartphones compared to global average  
Al Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 27 February 2016: In line with Saudi Arabia’s Development Plan focused on narrowing the technology gap between the Kingdom and other industrial countries by 2020, and to promote the transition to a knowledge-based economy, the Dean of Information Technology at Al-Imam Muhammad Bin Saud Islamic University has called for students’ enhanced involvement in IT in order to meet the job market’s needs in Saudi Arabia.

According to Al-Imam Muhammad Bin Saud Islamic University, the IT sector in Saudi Arabia has become a key driver for many other economic sectors, and the Kingdom is set to witness an IT boom in coming years. Al-Imam University believes that relevance of IT and the spread of satellite communications, computer networks and Internet will together reinforce the pivotal role of the IT sector in the Saudi national economy.
Dr. Waleed Abdulaziz Al-Jandal, Dean of AlImam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University Information Technology, stressed the need to encourage young people to work in the IT sector to keep pace with the growth of Saudi Arabia and ensure its global competitiveness. Al-Jandal said that boosting the qualifications of young people in IT will ensure sustainable economic growth and enhance the country’s competitiveness on a global scale. This comes at a time when the demand for Saudi nationals specialising in IT outstrips supply.
“Saudi Arabia is an active global player in this industry. It has been a member of the International Telecommunication Union since 1965, the organization that plays a leading role in the ICT sector globally. We are delighted to see the youth’s willingness to study IT to boost the growth of this sector in the Kingdom,” added Dr. Al-Jandal.
Al-Jandal stressed that IT enhances the quality of economic, social and cultural activities, and brings communities closer. The Saudi Government has paid great attention to IT, as highlighted by many national plans such as the 7th Five-Year Plan, the Science and Technology National Policy, the Saudisation of ICT sector, and the National Communications and Information Technology Plan.
The School of Information Technology at Al-Imam Muhammad Bin Saud Islamic University has recorded major achievements in the areas of networking, Internet, operation, technical support and applications, information security and media. Also, its students were recognised in various national and international platforms, including the recent Cloud Computing course held in Jeddah. Around 8 students scored above 95%, a rare incident at the global level.
Relatively, Saudi Arabia is very advanced internationally in the field of smart phones’ penetration, as it has over 100% penetration of smartphones compared to the global average of 86.7 percent.
“There is an urgent need to bridge the gap between labor market requirements of IT professionals in Saudi Arabia and awareness among parents and their children about the importance of this sector. We keep up to date with all the Ministry of Education programmes to make sure we apply the latest information and communication technologies in the education field, and have made many international and regional achievements in this domain,” concluded Dr. Al-Jandal.

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Students to benefit from state-of-the-art, digital resources.

Preparatory Year Deanship at Um Al Qura University and Pearson Education to provide 13,000 students with e-learning technology
Mecca, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 21st May, 2015: The Preparatory Year Deanship at Um Al Qura University (PYP-UQU) has announced it is partnering with the world’s largest learning company, Pearson, to provide students with online learning and assessment technology.

Under the agreement, Pearson will provide the University with 13,000 licences for the digital products, MyMathLab, MyITLab and MasteringPhysics. This will provide PYD-UQU students with a user-friendly, single point of entry for all courses and ebooks.
The partnership will also see Pearson equip PYD-UQU with related software, services and hardcopy books. In order to gain maximum benefit from the new technology, staff at PYD-UQU will be provided with ongoing training from Pearson technical experts.
The agreement follows the emerging trend in Saudi Arabia of higher education institutions taking up learning technology at an institution-wide level. Since the launch of the Saudi Government’s National Plan for Information Technology, many universities in the Kingdom have been moving towards full digital adaption.
It is hoped the implementation of the new technology will drive learner results at PYD-UQU and give educators more time to concentrate on helping their students achieve. Mr. Paul Harte, Country Manager of Pearson, Saudi Arabia, says:
“Every educator will tell you that each and every student learns in a different way. Adaptive learning technology, like the technology being implemented at PYD-UQU allows educators to easily teach to the specific learning needs of individual student. Using data and analytics, learning content is personalised to reinforce concepts that cater to individual strengths and weaknesses. Evidence shows that adaptive learning technology helps to create greater engagement, improved knowledge retention and support subject matter mastery. Pearson is delighted to be bringing these results to PYD-UQU and we look forward to seeing the impact of this new e-learning technology on the University’s students”.
Dr Ghassan Nouman, Dean PYD-UQU, says staff and students are looking forward to the rollout of the new programmes.
“PYD-UQU is keen to embrace the latest and most effective learning technologies available and this agreement will ensure we are on track to achieving this goal. Our lecturers are excited by the benefits this new Pearson technology will bring, helping them effectively engage their learners, and minimise time spent on administrative tasks. Similarly, feedback from learners has been positive, as the new programmes will facilitate their learning anywhere, anytime, and put them at the centre of their learning experience”.

The new technology will be available to PYD-UQU staff and students from the start of the next academic year, beginning in August 2015.

Saudi Educators Excel in Master Trainer Programme

Pearson programme enhancing standard of math and science education in KSA.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 4 May 2015: The Chief Executive of Saudi Arabia’s Tatweer Company for Educational Services (T4Edu) has congratulated the latest group of Master Trainers to complete the first phase of the Saudi Math and Science Teacher Development Programme.

The Master Trainer Programme is a key component of the broader Math and Science teacher development project being administered by T4Edu through the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Public Education Development Project (Tatweer), in collaboration with Pearson, the world’s largest learning company. Of the 407 participants that completed the most recent course of the Programme that concluded in December 2014, a 100 per cent pass-rate was achieved, with 94 percent of these receiving the highest available score of an A grade.

Dr Mohammad Al-Zaghibi, CEO of T4Edu, says the results have exceeded all expectations. “I am delighted by what this group of educators has been able to achieve. The scores of those taking part in the Foundation Programme attest to the quality of the programme itself, the commitment of the certified trainers who delivered it and most of all, to the exceptional dedication of participants who have taken part. I have seen first-hand just how hard the participants worked to achieve these outcomes, investing their time and approaching the programme with enthusiasm and commitment. I look forward to seeing the positive difference these Master Trainers will be able to make as they go forward inspiring math and science educators across the country. I am confident that the scale of this project will lead to a tangible and measurable impact – at a national level – on the quality of math and science education throughout Saudi Arabia”.
Dr Mohammad advised that feedback he had received from within T4Edu’s Scientific Committee was that the materials were of a very high quality and standard and had contributed to this project being one of the best ever commissioned in Saudi Arabia. He also advised that the women taking part in the programme had achieved excellent results.
Feedback from the programme’s participants has been very positive. One participant who successfully completed the programme said:
“I enjoyed every single moment of this experience, even if some parts of the journey were quite hard. The success of the programme is due to the skills and the creativity of those who designed and implemented it”.
The Foundation level of the programme has now been completed with 474 Master Trainers having passed this stage. These Master Trainers are now able to progress onto intermediate and advanced level trainer courses, which will begin in April and May of this year.
Under the Master Trainer Programme, designed and implemented by Pearson, participants are trained as “Master Trainers”, provided with the pedagogical skills and knowledge necessary to go onto train over 100,000 mathematics and science educators in schools across Saudi Arabia. The aim of the Master Trainer Programme and associated Blended Professional Development Programme (also being developed by Pearson) is to improve the overall standard of mathematics and science education in the Kingdom and measurably enhance the performance of Saudi learners in these subjects as part of T4Edu’s STEM Initiative.
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International eLearning Experts Gather in Riyadh for eLearning Event.

Social media and digital gaming can be used to promote learning
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 5 March 2015: The Ministry of Education’s National Center for e-Learning and Distance Learning has held its Fourth International Conference on eLearning and Distance Education. The event brought together some of the world’s leading e-Learning researchers and educators, to discuss ways in which new digital technologies can promote quality education in Saudi Arabia, and further afield.

Dr Rob Kadel, Head of the Washington-based Pearson Research and Innovation Network, gave a keynote address at the Conference. Dr Kadel called on educators, policy makers and digital developers to help ensure the digital learning technologies being employed in classrooms were those with the greatest impact on improving student outcomes.
Dr Kadel’s message has particular relevance for Saudi Arabia, where eLearning is becoming increasingly common in higher education institutions. Across the Kingdom, universities are turning to new technology to help increase the availability of online or blended learning options for students, and to simplify institutions’ administration and assessment processes. Riyadh’s Princess Noura University has partnered with Pearson to provide 12,000 preparatory year students with IT and Math course content for tablet devices, as part of the University’s efforts to build a world class digital learning environment for its students.
Dr Kadel told Conference participants: “eLearning holds great promise for students. However technology in itself is no panacea for the great challenges facing traditional education. If technology is used to merely maintain the status quo in teaching and learning, then we will see no great leaps forward in the education race. Technological solutions must be assessed according to the impact they have on improving learning outcomes, and learners’ lives. Although millions of learners, in all parts of the world, are experiencing online learning, there is much work to be done before eLearning’s potential to make education personalised, powerful and interactive is fully realised.”
Dr Kadel is well known for his research in the field of learning enhancement through social media and gamification. He believes that when used appropriately, these technologies have the power to become ‘game changers’ in education – engaging students of all levels and backgrounds in effective and meaningful learning.
“Using games and social media to help students learn, engage and enjoy the learning process, is key to our modern technological breakthroughs making a real impact on educational enhancement. This is particularly true for Saudi Arabia, which has some of the highest mobile penetration rates, per capita, anywhere in the world. At around 73 percent, mobile penetration in Saudi Arabia is significantly higher than in the USA or UK. The question is, how do we translate these statistics into improved outcomes for learners? We need to give educators the skills and the confidence to embrace the new opportunities that come with digital innovation, and help them find practical ways of exploiting these innovations in the classroom”.
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About Pearson:

Pearson is the world’s largest learning company, operating in more than 80 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.

Education Survey: Saudi Learners Aiming High

Survey undertaken by world’s largest learning organisation gives snapshot of KSA students’ ambitions.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 29 November 2014: A study undertaken by Pearson, the world’s largest learning company has found that Saudi students have high expectations for their future. Of those Saudi students surveyed, 71 percent revealed they are planning to undertake further study and 62 percent said that they have plans to study abroad.

Pearson, which offers Edexcel, BTEC and LCCI qualifications in Saudi Arabia, surveyed learners who had recently completed a Pearson qualification in the Kingdom. The ‘Next Steps’ Survey was part of a global undertaking by the company to determine how well qualifications are preparing learners for higher education and the workforce, and to better understand the long-term career aspirations of graduates.
Karim Daoud, Pearson’s Managing Director in the Middle East, says the results of the survey in Saudi Arabia show young people in the Kingdom are taking their education, and future career, seriously.
“I am encouraged by the large number of Saudi school and college leavers who have plans to continue their education at university level, either at home, or abroad. The results of the survey suggest our youth understand the importance of a good education to their future earning potential, and ability to find rewarding employment in a tight regional and global job market”.
Ensuring qualifications have a positive impact on the lives of those who undertake them is of critical importance to Pearson, a company who has made a global pledge to support efficacy in education. Mr Daoud says:
“We firmly believe that learning should be a life-changing opportunity and a great education should have a measureable, proven impact on learners’ lives. That is why Pearson aims to report on the learning outcomes of all its products and services by 2018. That means everything we do here in Saudi Arabia, including our qualifications offering, will be assessed according to an Efficacy framework. However, the Kingdom’s results in the Next Steps Survey suggest that we are already on the right path to ensuring learners are benefitting from their education, with exciting future prospects opened up to them as a result of their Pearson qualification”.
Riyadh-based student, Fayssal Al Qudrah who completed a Pearson International GSCE, says the qualification was excellent preparation for his future academic aspirations, which include studying pre-pharmacy at the University of Bridgeport in the United States, and eventually medicine at a foreign university.
“I wanted to study something that would help me realise my goal of becoming a medical doctor. My Pearson IAL AS Level qualifications in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology was a great basis for my current studies. I hope to go to a leading university in the United States – my International GSCE qualification has set me on the right path to achieving this goal. I would recommend to other young Saudis with big dreams to also consider an internationally recognised qualification – it really can help set you up for an exciting future”.
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About Pearson:

Pearson is the world’s largest learning company, operating in more than 80 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.

Pearson working with Tatweer to deliver training to 500 Master Educators.

T4EDU Launches Math and Science Teacher Development Programme
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 27 November 2014: Saudi Arabia’s Tatweer Company for Educational Services (T4EDU) in conjunction with Pearson, the world’s largest learning company, have announced the wider rollout of the Saudi Math and Science Teacher Development Programme.

The programme will see ultimately 500 educators from across the Kingdom take part in a Master Trainer Training Programme across three levels of learning: Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced. Foundation level training will take place in November and December 2014, with further levels planned in 2015.  The 500 Master Trainers will then go on to provide professional development training to over 100,000 primary and secondary teachers across the country, building Saudi teachers’ pedagogical skills and knowledge in the mathematics and science fields.
The Math and Science Teacher Development Programme forms part of the Saudi Government’s wider education reforms being implemented by T4EDU as part of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Public Education Project, a large scale project that will shape the future of education across the Kingdom
The Math and Science Teacher Development Programme will build the Kingdom’s capacity in the mathematics and science industries, fields, which are becoming increasingly important for success in a competitive, global economy.
The links between strong capabilities in the Science, Mathematics, Technology and Engineering fields at a national level, and a country’s economic performance are well documented. A Policy Brief from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) states that “Scientific advances and technological change are key drivers of recent economic performance. The ability to create, distribute and exploit knowledge has become a major source of competitive advantage, wealth creation and improvements to quality of life”.
Dr Mohammed AlZaghibi, Chief Executive Officer of T4EDU, agrees. He says:
“Fundamental to the Kingdom’s goal of achieving a diversified, knowledge-based economy will be fostering a STEM proficient workforce, and motivating our current generation of learners to seek a STEM based career. It is this group of students which will be Saudi Arabia’s innovators, inventors and creators of tomorrow.
“It is therefore of critical importance that we recruit and train enough talented and passionate teachers in the mathematics and science disciplines to make this vision a reality. By building capacity amongst 100,000 of Saudi’s math and science teachers, the Math and Science Teacher Development Programme has the scale to make a real difference to the quality of STEM education being taught in the Kingdom, and build a positive future for the country as a whole”.
Karim Daoud, Managing Director for Pearson in the Middle East says countries around the world are increasingly recognising the important role mathematics and science educators play in equipping learners for the demands of a modern workforce, saying:
“As the world becomes increasingly technological, scientific progress becomes even more significant in driving innovation-led growth. What we have seen through important policy movements in the USA and other countries is a realisation that the industries of the 21st Century will rely more and more on those workers with a highly skilled STEM education. It is imperative therefore that our education systems, from the curriculums used to the pedagogical practices employed, place upmost importance on math and science instruction, and deliver these subjects in a way that engages learners and inspires them to seek a career in these fields”.
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About Pearson:
Pearson is the world’s largest learning company, operating in more than 80 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 programmes that aim at developing the practice professional development in public education.

Taibah University and Pearson Announce World Class Learning Ecosystem.

12,000 students to experience new learning technology over the next three years
Student engagement, retention and achievement set to improve under new agreement.
Riyadh, KSA, 12 August 2014: Taibah University has announced that Pearson, the world’s largest learning company, has won the contract to roll out an all-inclusive, state-of-the-art Learning Ecosystem. The Programme will be implemented as part of the University’s preparatory year programme, which is undertaken by more than 4,000 students each year. The agreement will transform Taibah University from a traditional campus to a fully blended learning environment over the next three years, placing the University at the forefront of digital learning transformation in the Kingdom.

The agreement builds on a close existing relationship between Pearson and Taibah University, which started last year with the initial rollout of customised foundation resources, and continues through the various subsequent phases covered under this new agreement.
Under the new agreement, Pearson will provide the University with:
·         Pearson’s Personalised Learning Platform. A comprehensive learning ecosystem providing a personalised, adaptive and interactive learning experience.
·         The design, development and deployment of a full blended learning programme which includes digital courseware, digital lesson plans and formative assessments.
·         Remediation tools for mathematics, chemistry, physics and biology.
·         Enterprise reporting and data analytics.
·         Faculty change management and development programme to assist the transition to blended learning.
The training and professional development delivered to faculty as part of the agreement will help Taibah’s educators become champions of data-driven instruction and blended learning. The technology to be implemented under the new programme has been welcomed by educators at the University who believe it will improve student results because of its focus on student-centred, personalised learning. Instructors have also embraced the technology because it makes more efficient, effective use of teaching time, and gives them more flexibility in the way they teach.
Taibah University’s Dean of the Preparatory Year Programme, Dr. Waleed Bleyhesh al-Amri says:
“The ecosystem being implemented under the agreement will prove efficient in improving student outcomes by increasing student motivation and attendance. Saudi’s university students are very tech-savvy, and expect their education to reflect the latest developments in digital and online learning. The holistic system that we are employing has been specifically designed to connect with young learners, and make their education more relevant and engaging”.
The launch of Pearson’s Blended Learning technology at Taibah University indicates universities in the Kingdom are on-board with the Saudi Government’s goal of increasing the presence of digital technology in the Kingdom’s tertiary institutes as means of achieving better learning outcomes and employability rates among graduates. 
Pearson’s Vice President of Strategic Partnerships in the Middle East, Fadi Khalek said that the introduction of eLearning into Saudi Arabia’s universities will help achieve this vision as well as facilitating the development of a diverse, knowledge based economy in the Kingdom.
“Establishing a strong and efficacious learning culture in education institutions will have a positive impact on the country’s productivity, economic growth and job development. Learners that are equipped with the sophisticated 21st century skills promoted through eLearning programmes are more likely to contribute meaningfully in their future careers, and are better prepared to foster innovation in the workplace, or become involved in entrepreneurship activities”.
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About Pearson:

Pearson is the world’s largest learning company, operating in more than 80 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.

Saudi Rail Sector to Benefit from 3,000 New Trainees.

Saudi Railway Polytechnic and TQ Pearson Launch Kingdom’s First Rail Training College
Buraydah, Saudi Arabia, 29th June, 2014: To meet Saudi Arabia’s increasing demand for highly trained, well qualified workers, international education provider, TQ Pearson has opened a brand new College in Buraydah, Al Qassim Province. The Saudi Railway Polytechnic (SRP) will give young Saudi men world class technical training, as well as English language skills, to help them become the country’s rail technicians of the future.

The SRP is the first ever railway polytechnic to be opened in Saudi Arabia. Working in partnership with the Saudi Railways Company (SAR), the College will be operated by TQ Pearson, a company which also administers several of the Kingdom’s Colleges of Excellence. SRP will be able to accommodate up to 3,000 students, between the ages of 19 and 23, at any one time. Students of the College, which are drawn from all over the country, will undergo a rigorous application process. The intensive selection procedure includes a two week period of interviews and placement assessment, ensuring the most suitable students are selected for enrolment.

Training at SRP will take three years to complete, covering general employability skills such as English language, as well as technical competencies in rail sector disciplines including rolling stock, railway infrastructure, signalling, telecommunications and railway operations. On the job training is given priority throughout the programme, helping to make SRP graduates ready to quickly contribute to their new workplaces upon graduation. The College will work closely with employers from the railway industry throughout Saudi Arabia to help graduates of SRP find secure and meaningful employment.
EngrAbdulaziz Al SogairSRP Director says:
“The railway industry is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important industries. With so many businesses and individuals relying on the rail network, it has paramount importance for commerce, trade, government and personal activities. It is at the heart of the country’s economy, with many of our most profitable sectors relying on railways for transport. As such a large industry, railway employers are consistently seeking new recruits who have excellent technical knowledge, and strong transferable skills.Therefore, young people who have certified and recognised qualifications in this field will have good future work prospects available to them, and the opportunity to have a well-renumerated career in the Saudi Railways Company (SAR). SAR in partnership with TVTC provide a level of education that will ensure the very best trained and qualified technicians are in place to support the future rail industry of Saudi Arabia.”
The first cohort of students began at the College in April this year. This initial group of 60 students has been undertaking a pre-foundation English course in preparation for the foundation English course due to begin this September. It is expected that this cohort of students will be ready to embark on an intermediate to advanced English language course by September 2015.
So far, this first cohort has achieved great success, with 100 per cent attendance rates to date and high levels of educational attainment.
The emphasis on English language and employability skills will make SRP students highly sort after in the Kingdom’s competitive job market. Dominik Wellmann, who headed up the TQ Pearson team responsible for launching the programme says:
“Through a world-class faculty and quality educational resources, SRP will deliver technical and vocational skills specifically relevant to the rail industry. But the strength of SRP qualifications also lie in the emphasis SRP places on work readiness skills, such as English language. Regardless of the industry or sector, English language skills are a necessary part of survival in today’s business world. Those students who have strong English capabilities are more likely to gain rewarding employment, and more likely to progress through their careers at a faster rate. English language, like other 21st Century skills such as communication, team work and leadership, are becoming increasingly important in setting a candidate apart in a tight labour market. By equipping our students with these skills, we hope that they can achieve sustainable and rewarding employment in Saudi Arabia’s rail industry”.
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About Pearson:

Pearson is the world’s largest learning company, operating in more than 80 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 

Education budget provides an opportunity to transform the lives of young Saudis.

Pearson Welcomes Saudi Arabia’s Renewed Commitment to Education
  
Riyadh, KSA, 22 June 2014: The world’s largest learning company, Pearson, has welcomed the Saudi Arabian Government’s five year plan to develop its education sector.

The plan, approved by King Abdullah will see more than US$21.33bn (SAR80bn) spent on improving education in the Kingdom. Included in the education overhaul is the training of approximately 25,000 teachers, as well as building the online capabilities of educational institutions to promote e-learning. The funds are in addition to the already sizeable budget Saudi Arabia annually allocates to education.
Pearson has pledged its support for the new education initiative, considering it a way of improving the prospects of individuals throughout Saudi Arabia and securing the long-term economic viability of the country.
With around 58 percent of the Kingdom’s population under the age of 25, the country has one of the world’s largest youth bulges, a result of an unprecedented population boom over the past 40 years that is yet to reach its peak. The growing population of young people in Saudi Arabia is a trend echoed throughout the Arab World, with the youth populations of the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) averaging between one third to one half of the overall population – making it one of the youngest regions in the world.
Saudi Arabia’s youth bulge presents the country with significant challenges, but also unique opportunities, if managed in the right way. Tapping into the potential of Saudi’s youthful demographic, and channelling its creative energy and productivity into a resourceful workforce will have enormous rewards for the future economic fortunes of the country. But education will be key to realising these possibilities.
At present, there is a significant gap between the needs of business and industry, and the skills and knowledge being provided by the country’s education system. Young Saudis are finishing their education at higher levels than ever before, but are finding it increasingly difficult to find meaningful employment. At the same time, research shows that employers throughout the Kingdom, and across the GCC, cannot find enough appropriately skilled workers to fill their human resource requirements. Saudi Arabia, like its neighbours also suffers from a lack of workers trained for in-demand professions in the engineering, science and medical fields.
Pearson Country Manager for Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Asiri, believes the education commitments of the Kingdom’s Government will play a critical role in overcoming these challenges, equipping the country’s young people with an education that can propel development and improve the lives of all Saudis. She says:
“The unique demographic make-up of Saudi Arabia is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the country. The large – and growing – number of young people entering the workforce can be a competitive advantage for the country’s economy in the global marketplace, but only if there are jobs – and good jobs – available, and only if candidates for those jobs are suitably qualified to perform effectively in the workplace.
“The first step in making this happen is building a world-class education system that provides the types of skills needed by Saudi’s employers in the public and private sectors, and in industries with the greatest demand. This means fostering capabilities in the areas of mathematics, science, technology and engineering. And as English increases its dominance as the global language of business, this also means we need to embed English language training across our curriculums. English language is just one of many, transferable 21stcentury skills that will be necessary for empowering a future generation of young Saudi workers. Other include innovation, team work, communication, digital savviness and leadership. By adopting an education system built on these principles we can help create a base of productive young Saudis, capable of accelerating the Kingdom’s drive towards a diversified, knowledge-based economy and fostering sustainable, long-term growth”.
Pearson has a significant presence in Saudi Arabia. The company is working closely with the Tatweer Company for Educational Development (T4EDU) to provide professional development programmes for the Kingdom’s mathematics and science teachers. T4EDU has also awarded Pearson a contract to improve the English language skills of Saudi teachers in an effort to build the overall quality of English language instruction throughout the country. As part of the project, Pearson will monitor the quality of Saudi’s English language providers against stringent international standards. Pearson is also working with Saudi universities and other educational institutions, such as the Colleges of Excellence, to deliver academic and vocational programmes and rollout digital learning initiatives.
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About Pearson: Pearson is the world’s largest learning company, operating in more than 80 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

Training begins for first cohort of Saudi ‘Master’ educators

T4EDU Math and Science Teacher Development Programme expected to have positive impact on math and science education in Saudi Arabia
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 17 June 2014: Mathematics and science education should see notable improvements as a result of new teacher training initiatives being rolled out in the Kingdom, says Pearson Country Manager for Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Asiri.

Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, is working closely with the Tatweer Company for Educational Services (T4edu) to roll out a ‘train-the-trainer’ programme. The new programme will see Master trainers provide professional development to mathematics and science teachers across the country and help positively change teachers’ beliefs about teaching and learning.
T4edu is the company tasked with rolling out the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Public Education Project, a large scale programme of reform that will shape the future of education across the Kingdom. Pearson believes that improving the knowledge and skills of teachers through the new train-the-trainer initiative will be key to raising math and science standards in Saudi Arabia’s schools, and helping fulfil some of the key goals of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Public Education Project.
A recent global report from Pearson and the Economist Intelligence Unit called The Learning Curve (www.thelearningcurve.pearson.com) stressed the importance of great teachers in providing great learning. Enhancing the learning outcomes of mathematics and science students in Saudi Arabia will therefore be closely linked to the country’s teachers having strong content and pedagogical knowledge in these fields.
The first cohort of potential Master Trainers began their training programme in Riyadh in early May. The 80 participants are the first of 500 expected to undertake the programme over the next two years. The Master Trainers will be responsible for training over 100,000 of the Kingdom’s primary and secondary mathematics and science teachers – building capacity and capability amongst Saudi Arabia’s mathematics and science teaching community.
The programme is a flagship component of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Public Education Project and of great importance to the Saudi Government who is seeking to improve the level of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in the Kingdom. Research suggests that supporting teaching and learning in these subjects is important for long-term economic growth and prosperity. A 2013 Report from the Brookings Institute found that workers in the STEM field play a direct role in driving economic competiveness and in the invention, creation and maintenance of technologies that drive economic growth. The Report also noted that 20 percent of jobs in the United States are in the STEM field, and that the share of jobs requiring STEM knowledge has more than doubled since the Industrial Revolution.
Dr Mohammed AlZaghibi, General Director of the STEM Educational Initiative from T4EDU, says:
“We are delighted to be working with Pearson to deliver a programme that will help improve the overall standard of mathematics and science teaching – and learning – in our country. Our company has been tasked with the important goal of driving the development of Saudi Arabia’s public education system and thereby contributing to the growth of a knowledge economy that is competitive in the global marketplace. Having a population that has strong skills in the mathematics and science disciplines will be critical to achieving this goal. Maths and science knowledge is essential to a wide-range of professions that drive innovation and productivity – by building strong capability in these areas we can also help build the long-term future of our country”.
Mr Asiri believes that raising mathematics and science results in Saudi Arabia will not only have a positive effect on the economy, but also open up excellent career opportunities to individuals. He says:
“Our education system must keep pace with the requirements of our rapidly growing economy – As the Saudi economy develops there is increasing demand for employees who have excellent knowledge and skills in the areas of mathematics and science. Pearson is thrilled to be working with T4EDU to help improve the learning outcomes of students in these fields so that they are equipped to take full advantage of the significant opportunities available in the job market – both now and in the years ahead.”
By reaching such a large number of educators, it is hoped the programme will have a positive effect on Saudi Arabia’s ranking for math and science in international education tables such as TIMMS and PISA. Mr Asiri says that raising the country’s performance in these subjects is a priority for Pearson, a company that has made a public pledge to measure the effectiveness of its programmes.
“In 2013, Pearson committed to guaranteeing the efficacy of its entire offering – we want to visibly improve peoples’ lives through learning. The Math and Science Teacher Development Programme has the potential to achieve this goal. By operating on such a vast scale, the programme will have an impact on hundreds of thousands of Saudi school children in all parts of the country. Giving these learners better access to first-rate math and science teaching will open up new opportunities for them in the job market, and provide them with the STEM skills and knowledge necessary to drive innovation and productivity in the country’s economy”.
ENDS
 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 programmes that aim at developing the practice professional development in public education.             

For more information about the Tatweer Company for Educational Services (T4EDU) Math and Science Teacher Development Programme, please contact amanda.collins@pearson.com