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New body expected to improve quality of education in Kingdom

JEDDAH: Minister of Education Prince Faisal bin Abdullah underscored the role of the General Education Evaluation Authority for the development of education in the Kingdom.

“The setting up of this evaluation authority is one of my private dreams,” the prince said, adding that the ministry also pinned its hopes on the authority for bringing about a qualitative shift in general education.

“That is why the ministry demanded the setting up of the authority initially,” the minister said in a statement quoted by Al-Madinah daily yesterday.
The authority was set up by an order of the Council of Ministers last month with the aim of assessing the performance of both public and private schools in the country. The Riyadh-based authority, which will conduct standardized national tests for each educational level, will be financially and administratively independent and operate under a governor.

It will function as an independent body. It will have vast power to play its key role and will be directly answerable to the Council of Ministers.
Its tasks include formulating an efficient evaluation system that would guarantee the quality of school education in the Kingdom and laying down standards of quality education and a national framework for educational qualifications.

“The authority will periodically assess and rate performance of schools in the government and private sectors on the basis of objective standards. It will undertake its tasks either directly or with the help of establishments specialized in assessment and accreditation,” the minister said.

The ministry will transfer its present task of evaluating general education to the new authority.

The authority will operate under the chairman of the Supreme Education Committee though in the initial stage it will be directly linked to the Council of Ministers. The board of directors of the authority will be constituted with representatives from the Ministry of Education, the National Commission for Academic Evaluation and Accreditation, the National Center for Evaluation at the Ministry of Higher Education, the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) and the Saudi Society for Educational and Psychological sciences. The board will also have four experts of the authority and another expert from the private sector.

With the collaboration of related departments, the Experts’ Committee of the Council of Ministers will review the setting up of the authority.