Kingdom of Saudi Arabia chooses Melbourne experts to transform education

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has chosen theá Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) áto lead a large-scale transformation of the curriculum for its 36,000 schools, to begin this year.

The Ministry of Education will collaborate with University of Melbourne researchers to deliver a competency-based learning program as part of its new educational program designed to strengthen the Kingdom’s capability as it assesses the economic challenges of the 21stácentury.

The project was initiated by University of Melbourne’sá Emeritus Professor Patrick Griffin. It will be conducted by the Assessment Research Centre, directed by Associate Professor Sandra Milligan.

The program is one of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Vision strategic goals and aims to provide a learning environment that encourages students to go beyond mastery of subject content, to include additional skills and attitudes and values that will equip them to thrive in a modern economy.

"This projectáwill have a significant impact on the development of the new educational process in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," said His Excellency the Minister for Education in Saudi Arabia,áDr Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al-Issa.

"Thisáneeds patience to achieve our goals, with the contribution of international experts."

The curriculum changes will enable teachers to bolster their leadership skills and empower students to work in teams and encourage critical and creative thinking and ensure every child is assessed in line with evidence-based teaching.

The current school system in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia employs 500,000 teachers to teach the 40 per cent of Saudi Arabians who are aged under the age of 15.

MGSE Dean Dr Jim Watterston ásaid the collaboration was a wonderful opportunity for MGSE to partner with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to deliver evidence-based research methods into classrooms.

"We look forward to working with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to support a competency-based education program that aligns with its goals to provide a stimulating learning environment to promote knowledge and enhance the skills of students and teachers," Dr Watterston said.

"Critical thinking, problem solving and focusing on broadening communication are competency-based skills proven to enable teachers and students to perform at their best and contribute to society in a positive way."

Associate Professor Milligan, Director of the Assessment Research Centre at MGSE, is a former state director of curriculum and has worked across the government and not-for-profit sector in Australia and internationally.

"This project will see a major shift in the Saudi Arabian school system and will result in students trained to face the challenges of the 21stácentury global world," she said.