Saudi Arabia chooses Melbourne to lead education transformation

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

Student at UOMThe 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 21st century.

The project was initiated by University of Melbourne’s 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 project will have a significant impact on the development of the new educational process in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” His Excellency the Minister for Education in Saudi Arabia, Dr Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al-Issa, said.

“This needs 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, encouraging critical and creative thinking and ensuring every child is assessed in line with evidence-based teaching.

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

Dr Jim Watterston, Dean of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, said the collaboration was a wonderful opportunity for the school 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,” he 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 21st century global world,” she said.