The Saudi Gazette: English proficiency key to gaining knowledge: Al-Saif

 

Al-Yamamah University hosts ELT symposium

Mohammed Alshoaiby
Saudi Gazette

Proficiency in English language is paramount to gaining knowledge, experience and culture, speakers at the third International ELT Symposium at Al-Yamamah University in Riyadh say. — SG photo
RIYADH – Deputy Minister of Higher Education Ahmed Al-Saif inaugurated the third International ELT symposium under the banner “Humanizing the ELT Classroom” here on Tuesday.

The symposium, which ran from Nov. 12 to 14, is organized by Al-Yamamah University, in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education and Saudi Interlink, Al-Yamamah’s ELT partner, featuring speakers from around the world discussing advancements in English Language Teaching in the Kingdom and globally.

“English language proficiency has become paramount in ganging knowledge, experience and culture,” said Al-Saif, speaking at the opening ceremony.
Al-Saif said students who conduct their studies in English “are given an edge at the cusp of an ever-changing global economy and the language itself inherently allows them to compete in cutting-edge market trends.”

He added that teaching in the English language is an important development in higher education in the Kingdom, stating bilingual, educated Saudis have a great advantage in competing in the global economy.

“One of the goals of the Ministry of Higher Education’s strategic plan is to transform Saudi society into a knowledge-based society,” he said.

“And in order to reach this goal, we must adopt the prep-year program across all universities,” stating that there are now over 20 government-operated universities and 35 private universities with prep-year English programs, a far leap from 15 years ago when there was only one prep-year program in the Kingdom at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in the Eastern Province.

Al-Yamamah was an early adopter of the preparatory year program, following its inception in 2004, and began strongly developing its English-language program 11 years ago when it partnered with Interlink, a global hub of language centers specializing in English as a Second Language (ESL).

Al-Yamamah University President Hussein Alfreihi said: “The university (Al-Yamamah) is determined to provide its students with the skills, knowledge and know-how to compete in the global economy.

He added that Al-Yamamah’s partnership with Interlink was a result of a shared vision and an equal responsibility to ensure the success of their students, paving their way for a bright future.

“Al-Yamamah is committed to the Saudi marketplace and our steps in this partnership are based on solid curricular and academic foundations, at every stage and juncture.”

Al-Yamamah, Alfreihi added, trains students in research skills, critical thinking skills and presentation skills in the English language, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, offering a traditional Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and Executive MBA programs at the latter level.

“This distinguishes our students in the job market and increases their chances of employment,” he added.

“We believe that shaping the students’ personality and setting them for success should be at the core of the learning process.

“From first-hand experience, I can state with confidence that when the relationship between the language program and any university is that of a partnership built on a set of responsibilities we can expect the success of the language program.”

Ahad Shahbaz, president of Interlink, said there is nothing “more gratifying to a teacher than to hear his student speak so fluently” in a language that is not their native tongue.

The Third International ELT Symposium opens up discussions on the English language teaching process, effective developments and methodology, as well as offering brainstorming sessions and panel discussions with world-renowned speakers in collaboration with key players in the public and private sectors to improve and maintain the quality of English language teaching in the Kingdom.

See: http://saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20131114186685

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