(MENAFN - Arab News) To help meet the challenge of making Saudi graduates fluent English speakers, language institute Pearson recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Jubail Industrial College, the Kingdom's largest and most sophisticated semi-autonomous technical institute.
The agreement will see the two organizations harness the latest global technology to assess English language competencies for between 5,000 and 6,000 Saudi students each year.
"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," said Saleh Al-Sheri, deputy for education and training affairs at Jubail Industrial College. "By employing the very best English-language testing services and then giving the students the most relevant remedial content we are ensuring they have the best chance of success in their career."
The English-language tests will use 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," said Al-Sheri. "The Pearson Test of English (PTE) is recognized and accepted across the globe by more than 3,000 academic institutions and professional bodies. The test uses the latest security measures, including state-of-the-art biometrics, to ensure the integrity of the test."
Christine Ozden leads Pearson's Middle East and North African operations. "As Saudi Arabia's economy becomes increasingly globalized, academic institutions are recognizing the need to equip their students with robust English language skills. More than two billion people are currently learning English around the world. Throughout the Middle East, graduates with strong English skills find employment more quickly than their non-English speaking counterparts, and earn significantly higher salaries. Today's agreement will significantly improve the job prospects of the college's graduates and help them to more rapidly progress their careers."
English has largely become the language of business in Saudi Arabia. It is important to the future of all students that they have access to the best possible English language education from primary school right through to tertiary level.