Riyadh, (UNA-OIC) – The International Conference on Education and Training Evaluation ended its full agenda of quality workshops, presentations, and activities under the conference theme of “Improving Learning Outcomes and Economic Growth” on Thursday.
The conference, which was held virtually, was organized by the Education & Training Evaluation Commission, in partnership with the Saudi G20 summit Secretary and was attended by highly ranked educational specialists in the Kingdom, representatives of international organizations, and lecturers from international and local universities.
The final address of the conference was presented by His Excellency the President of the Education & Training Evaluation Commission Dr. Hussam Zaman, in which he highlighted the importance of the renewal of education to support economic growth, emphasizing that the quality, not the quantity of education, is a significant goal, which will be reflected in the learner’s mastery of the knowledge and skills needed to be productive when s/he joins the labor market in order to contribute to both national and personal economic well-being.
Zaman added that the education reform requires measuring the progress achieved through data analysis and entails all stakeholders’ consensus on a common goal.
He concluded his presenting by calling on higher education researchers and faculty to provide data-based information to teachers, administrators, decision-makers, and other educational authorities makers to support education reforms that advance all students’ learning and academic achievement. He also emphasized the importance of focusing on outcomes of scientific research and administrative performance of “the fourth mission,” which concerns the broad effects of higher education and scientific research on society, culture, public health, and citizens’ lifelong learning.
Relative to the goals of the “National Frameworks”, the speaker stressed the importance of supporting accurate evaluation and merited accreditation of education and training programs and training programs by using statistical analysis of quality data to focus on outputs, developing assessment programs to be more comprehensive, and meeting international standards of data collection, interpretation, and reporting in professional and sectorial fields.
The statement emphasized the accuracy and representativeness of data to improve services in all aspects and at all levels of the educational system, as well as assuring the continuity of the evaluation process during the Covid 19 crisis, as well as providing adequate digital technology and design to implement the testing of more than 300,000 students through distance platforms, which offers an opportunity to learn how digital technology and intelligence can introduce viable solutions in accreditation and evaluation.
The statement concluded with the assurance that quality education as a prominent factor in supporting economic growth can be achieved by providing effective evaluation methods and using the evaluation data in assessing, reforming, and improving decisions.
In conclusion, the highest expressions of gratitude were extended to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz for their generous provision of accommodations to hold such an international conference in parallel with the G20 Saudi year of presidency, and for the permanent and strong support of their beneficent leadership in improving the quality and efficiency of education and training in a way that contributes to the well-being of society and promoting its economic development and global competition.
His Excellency, the President of the Education & Training Evaluation Commission, also thanked all the local and international partners who contributed to the success of this conference, especially their Excellencies the G20 Saudi Secretariat, the experts and scholars involved in presenting and managing the conference sessions, and the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) for their invaluable contributions to the conference program. Also great thanks were expressed to the Board of Directors, represented by His Excellency, Counselor at the Royal Court, Dr. Ahmed Al-Issa and all members of the Council.
The opening session of the conference was presented by His Excellency the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Education & Training Evaluation Commission, Dr. Ahmed Al-Issa, the conference sponsor; the main speaker, head of the education and skills sector of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Mr. Andreas Schleicher; and the participation of His Excellency the President of the Education & Training Evaluation Commission, Dr. Hussam Zaman, who reported on studies carried out by the commission during the Corona pandemic in a paper entitled “Education and Training Evaluation During the Coronavirus Pandemic – Lessons Learned from the Experience of the Education & Training Evaluation Commission.”
Presenters of the scientific research session on the first day discussed the focus on implementing evaluation and quality checks in schools. The session was chaired by the Director-General of the Arab Bureau of Education for the Gulf States, Dr. Ali Al-Qarni, and began with the presentation by the former Chief Education Officer of Scotland, Dr. Bill Maxwell, of a paper entitled “Building effective quality strategies that keep pace with the aspirations of education systems in the twenty-first century: Quality assurance strategy in education systems.” The Strategic Inspector of the Netherlands Education Inspectorate, Mr. Bert Lichtenberg, then presented a paper entitled “The need for a national vision to implement quality checks.” Professor of Arabic Language at Zayed University, Dr. Hanada Taha, next presented a paper entitled: “Teaching, Learning and Correcting the Arabic Language: So that we do not lose our way.”
The session concluded with a paper on “The National Framework for Evaluation of Public Education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Policy integration for continuous improvement,”, presented by His Excellency, the Executive Director of the National Center for Assessment and School Excellence, Dr. Mohammed Al-Ghamdi.
The conference included a session on evaluating and adopting TVET programs, which was chaired by His Excellency, the Deputy Minister of Human Resources and Social Development for Labor, Dr. Abdullah Abu Thunain, and dealt with the transformation strategy of the General Organization for Technical and Vocational Training. “Linking TVET with the needs of the labor market” was presented by His Excellency, the Governor of the General Organization for Technical and Vocational Training, Dr. Ahmed Al-Fuhaid. Also, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development for Labor Affairs, Dr. Ahmed Al-Zahrani, presented “Innovating in the Labor Market: the Skills Pillar,” and Mr. Hiromichi Katayama, a specialist in youth development and reading and skills development programs at UNESCO, discussed “Developing qualifications and making use of analytical indicators extracted from big data.”
The former Senior Director of Policies at the Ministry of Education in New Zealand, Mr. Josh Williams, addressed “E-quality: How does digital technology support quality and consistency in TVET?”
A session on the Scottish experience with “Evaluation of apprenticeship programs in Scotland” was led by the Head of Evaluation and Research Sector, Skills Development Foundation in Scotland, Dr. Patrick Watt. Also Executive Director of the National Center for Assessment and Accreditation of Training, A. Mohammed Al-Asiri, discussed “Introduction to evaluation and accreditation adopted by the Education and Training Evaluation Commission for the Training Sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” The final session on the first day was chaired by His Excellency Deputy Minister of Economy and Planning, Prof. Faisal Al-Ibrahim and presented by a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Dr. Eric Hanushek, and was dedicated to discussion of the economic returns of investing in quality education.
On the second day of the conference, which focused on the implementation of educational renewal at the national level, the main session was headed by the first advisor to the Education and Training Evaluation Commission, Dr. Mohammed Al-Zughaibi, with the participation of His Excellency the former Minister of Education of New Zealand, Heikia Paratha, who presented a paper on the implementation of education reforms in New Zealand entitled “Implementing Educational Renewal at the National Level”.
After that, the discussion session was chaired by Her Excellency, the President of Princess Noura bint Abdulrahman University, Dr. Enas Al-Issa. A paper “Initiatives to improve learning outcomes in higher education in the Kingdom” was presented on behalf of His Excellency Deputy Minister of Education for Universities, Research and Innovation, Dr. Muhammad Al-Sudairy, by the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education for University Education, Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Khorayef.
The Head of the Innovation and Measurement of Progress Department at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Dirk Van Damme, presented a paper entitled “Evaluation of learning outcomes for higher education: The Higher Education Assessment Initiative CLA +.” Next the Head of Measurement for Self-Assessment, Periodic Evaluation and Accreditation of the National Authority for Universities and Research Evaluation in Italy, Dr. Alberto Ciofli, presented his paper entitled “Evaluation of higher education in Italy: Opportunities for the National Evaluation Authority,” and Professor of the University of Porto in Portugal, Dr. Pedro Teixeira, gave his paper, “Private higher education and program accreditation: Balancing commitment and excellence.” The session concluded with a paper presented by the Executive Director of the National Center for Academic Accreditation and Assessment, Dr. Suhail BaJammal, on “The transformation of academic accreditation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
A session focused on using evaluation data through research and reports was chaired by the National Information Center foresight program’s general supervisor, Dr. Sattam Al-Subaie. A paper on “Strategies for maximizing the utilization of data” was presented by His Excellency, the Head of the National Data Management Office, Dr. Tariq Al-Sheddi. The Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Dr. Silvia Montoya, discussed “The contribution of assessment data to achieving learning objectives of the 2030 Education Agenda,” and the Head of the Policy and Implementation Advisory Division of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Paulo Santiago, led a discussion entitled “Using evaluation and measurement data to strengthen the evidence for policy development and encourage informed dialogue in the field of education.” Senior economist in the Education Department of the World Bank, Dr. Shwitalina Sabarwal, presented “The importance of metrics learning and the Human Capital Index for the World Bank.”
The scientific sessions were concluded with the participation of the General Supervisor of the Research and Innovation Department at the Education & Training Evaluation Commission, Dr. Niaf Al-Jabri, who presented his paper, “Expanding the impact of the Education & Training Evaluation Commission: A holistic approach to using data.”