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Education, Singapore

Saudis learning S'pore way of teaching

The Straits Times | Amelia Tan | Monday, Apr 28, 2014

School principals in Saudi Arabia are the latest among educators worldwide being taught the Singapore way of teaching.

Since last October, the National Institute of Education (NIE) has taken leadership trainers from the kingdom under its wing, training them in curriculum design, assessment as well as science, mathematics and special needs education, among other things.

The aim is to put about 480 of these trainers in Saudi Arabia through a two-week programme here by December. They will then impart what they have learnt to some 3,000 school principals back home.

The move is part of an agreement between the consultancy and training arm of NIE and Tatweer Education, a Saudi strategic investment company that focuses on education development.

This is the latest overseas partnership inked by NIE, which has shared its expertise and helped to set up teacher training colleges overseas.

NIE, Singapore's teacher education institute, has been training school principals and teachers from overseas since 2003, using a "training of trainers" approach. The trainees include educators from Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. They fly here to attend seminars and presentations, and also visit schools.

The largest such programme involved 600 school leadership trainers from Vietnam. They, in turn, trained some 30,000 of their country's principals between 2008 and 2010.

NIE International general manager Goh Chor Boon told The Straits Times: "NIE has an excellent reputation in the Middle East because of our passion and commitment in contributing to education reform in the region."

NIE director Lee Sing Kong said it has had more requests from countries for NIE to share its expertise since the mid-2000s.

"The world landscape is changing, technology is advancing and knowledge is evolving. Other countries want to know how they can respond to such changes through curriculum designs and pedagogical changes," said Professor Lee, who is also managing director of NIE International, its private arm.

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