Pearson to boost English skills of Saudi students
Riyadh, November 29, 2012
UK-based Pearson, a leading learning company, has entered into a deal with Saudi Arabia’s Jubail Industrial College, aiming to assess English language competencies of between 5,000 and 6,000 Saudi students each year.
The English language tests used under the agreement will have all four skills machine-scored, using sophisticated scoring engines that research has shown to be at least as reliable as human raters, ensuring the integrity of the results.
Pearson’s internationally acclaimed Versant testing will be employed to accurately test learners’ English levels.
The Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic, which is recognised and accepted across the globe by more than 3,000 academic institutions, professional bodies and the UK and Australian border agencies, will also be introduced in the foreseeable future, a statement said.
The test uses the latest security measures, including state of the art biometrics, to ensure the integrity of the test.
As Saudi Arabia’s economy becomes increasingly globalised, academic institutions are recognising the need to equip their students with robust English language skills.
More than two billion people are currently learning English around the world; and throughout the Middle East, graduates with strong English skills find employment more quickly than their non-English speaking counterparts, and earn significantly higher salaries.
The agreement will significantly improve the job prospects of the college’s graduates, and help them to more rapidly progress their careers, said Christine Ozden, who leads Pearson’s Mena operations.
“English has largely become the language of business in Saudi Arabia, and so it is fundamentally important to the futures of all students that they have access to the best possible English language education, from primary school, right through to tertiary level,” said Ozden.
“This is what we hope to achieve with our partner, Jubail Industrial College, who like Pearson, understands the need to give learners the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in the world of work, and contribute to the long term growth of the kingdom’s economy.”
Pearson, which operates in more than 85 countries around the globe and helps educate millions of learners every year, is well versed in the needs of Saudi academic institutions, having worked in the country for over a decade, the statement said.
“Our Versant tests can be taken by hundreds of candidates simultaneously via phone or computer, anywhere in the world. All human error is removed from the testing process, resulting in scores free from bias based on race, gender, culture or religion,” Ozden said.
Dr Saleh Al-Sheri, deputy for Education and Training Affairs at Jubail Industrial College said: “It is our goal to contribute to the ongoing growth of the Saudi economy, and the long-term prosperity of both our graduates, and the community as a whole.”
“By employing the very best English language testing services, and then giving the students the most relevant remedial content, we are ensuring our students have the best chance of success in obtaining meaningful and rewarding work, and aiding the competitive growth of business both here, and in the wider region,” he added. – TradeArabia News Service