Saudi Arabia proudly sponsors virtual global education conference

Saudi Arabia’s Education and Training Evaluation Commission (ETEC), in partnership with the G20 Saudi Secretariat, announced it would hold a virtual conference on October 14-15, 2020.

The two-day conference, named the “International Conference on Education and Training Evaluation: Improving Learning Outcomes and Supporting Economic Growth,” includes keynote speeches and thematic sessions, and will be held under the patronage of Dr. Ahmed Alessa, Chairman of the ETEC Board of Directors.

The conference was preceded by 21 specialized professional development workshops, conducted over four days. More than 50 local, regional, and international pioneering experts, specialists, and academics will present in the conference and workshops.

Saudi Arabia holds the presidency of the G20 this year, and the conference takes place as part of the G20 International Conferences Program.

“The linkage to the G20 Summit is certainly to add value and significance to the conference. It is an indication that education and training are important pillars for economic development in Saudi Arabia and worldwide,” Dr. Husam Zaman, ETEC President said.

Zaman added that the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed a new reality on all education and training institutions, pushing them to react differently and tackle new challenges at local and international levels alike.

The ETEC has collaborated with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to plan for the conference program. It covers important themes such as implementing school performance inspection and evaluation, evaluating and accrediting technical and vocational education and training programs, evaluating higher education learning outcomes, and utilizing the data collected by the aforementioned processes for reporting and further research.

“Evaluation contributes greatly towards improving performance and assures quality of education and training systems. The conference will be based on evidence and practices of evaluation to highlight policy options that can optimize immediate leaning outcomes and efficiently match them to long-term economic and social development needs,” Zaman said.

The conference will address the effects of education quality on economic growth, and policies of education reform, as well as addressing the national initiatives and strategies to improve the quality of education and training. With high-level participation expected from education and training officials and policy makers, employers, and researchers, the conference will help accelerate dialog on actions needed to enhance efficiency of education and training systems.

A number of international experts and specialists will participate in the conference, including representatives from the OECD, World Bank, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and UNESCO.

They will be joined by members from other academic and government bodies such as the New Zealand Ministry of Education, the Scottish Education Department and evaluation authority, the evaluation authority in the Netherlands, Stanford University in the US, the University of Porto in Portugal, and Zayed University in the UAE, as well as experts from relevant ministries and authorities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In the lead up to the conference, the 21 professional development workshops will focus on evaluation and assessment tools, standards, and advanced data analysis, held by local and international specialists through ETEC-affiliated centers and directorates:

• The National Center for Assessment (Qiyas) will offer workshops to train participants on assessment, data analysis, and psychometric modeling.
• The National Center for Academic Accreditation and Evaluation (NCAAA) will conduct workshops on implementing accreditation standards in higher education, how to apply rubrics, and the National Qualifications Framework.
• The National Center for School Evaluation and Excellence (NCSEE) will organize workshops on collecting and analyzing evaluation data, school evaluation standards, school self-evaluation, and how to evaluate a school’s progress.
• The National Center for Training Evaluation and Accreditation (MASAR) will hold a workshop on developing professional qualifications.
• The ETEC General Directorate of Research and Innovation will host workshops for professionals, researchers and graduate students on how to analyze and interpret assessment data, how to utilize data from national and international evaluation studies, appropriate statistical software, and advanced statistical methods.