Regionally contextualised resources boost student engagement in Gulf region.

Pearson Offers Arab Specific Learning Resources
Dubai, UAE, 26 November 2013: Pearson, the world’s largest learning company, has pledged its commitment to providing learners in the Gulf region with culturally relevant and contextualised educational resources.

Mr Nigel Kelly, who leads Pearson’s portfolio for schools in the Middle East, says learning materials that have been developed especially for regional students allow for better student engagement in the learning process and higher achievement levels. He says:
“Students are more likely to reach their potential in the classroom when they are taught using learning resources that take into account their background and experiences. Resources that use examples, images and language familiar to students help them better relate to the learning content, and therefore more likely to assimilate and recall new information”.
Mr Kelly made these comments as Pearson announced its Social Studies for Saudi Arabia series has been adapted so that it now caters for learners from kindergarten to grade eight. The series had previously only been available for students up to grade five. A Social Studies text for the entire Gulf is also currently under development.
Pearson also offers the My Gulf World and Me series, which includes six levels of carefully leveled readers that provide a clear progression path for school-age students developing the basics of the English language. The books feature local, everyday words, visual themes and topics taken from the Middle East to give children the opportunity to engage with key learning areas. The series also offers an activity book for each level to consolidate learning and encourage the application of core skills, grammar, speaking, listening, writing and comprehension.
The author, Kate Riddle says she has seen the difference these texts can make to the learning experiences of students in the Gulf:
“It is fantastic to see how excited students become when they read books that contain photos and information that relate to their daily lives in the Middle East. Immediately their interest is heightened, and they are motivated to continue reading and learning.”
Since 2011, Pearson has also offered a series of academic textbooks especially created for Arab university students known as the Arab World Editions. The collection encompasses 16 titles, across a range of disciplines including Finance, Accounting, Mathematics, Science, Business and Marketing. The collection consists of brand new titles as well as Arab adaptions of popular international texts. The author of the Arab World Edition of Introduction to Mathematical Analysis, Professor Saadia Khouyibaba, says that the collection meets strong demand in the region for textbooks and accompanying resources that are developed and written by academics that live and work in the region and that understand the unique learning needs of regional students.
“For the first time, Arab students have access to high quality learning resources, created by leading international experts that take into account the unique cultural, religious, political and economic circumstances of the region. By using examples taken from Arab companies, interviews with Arab business people and case studies of Arab examples, students from the region are more engaged with their learning and therefore motivated to achieve better grades. Regionally tailored resources also provide students with knowledge that will be more relevant to their future careers in this region”.
Sue Mainey, who is responsible for marketing the Arab World Editions for Pearson, believes that it is not only the texts themselves that have made this collection so popular, but the accompanying materials that have also been tailored to meet the learning needs of students in the region.
“Feedback we have received from lecturers using the Arab World Editions is that the Arabized accompanying resources, which include the online homework and teaching tool, MyLabs, make the whole learning process a dynamic and engaging experience for students. Lecturers have recorded significant improvements to student performance after using these products, which indicates the efficacy of the texts and support materials in make a real difference to student outcomes”.
Mr Kelly says that Pearson is confident these regionally tailored resources, will continue to have a positive impact on the learning outcomes of students across the Gulf region.
“Pearson works all around the world to bring educational solutions to millions of people every day. This far reaching experience has shown us that the best learning takes place when it is relevant to those undertaking it. Therefore, I believe that these contextualised learning tools will make a real and lasting difference to learners in this region, helping them to meet their learning goals and realise their ambitions”.


Oil and Gas Sectors to Drive Vocational Training in the Gulf.

More technically trained employees needed to sustain region’s growing petrochemical companies.
Abu Dhabi, UAE, 19 November 2013: Education and training providers will meet with some of the world’s largest oil and gas companies at this year’s VTEC MENA Conference, held at Abu Dhabi Polytechnic from the 25th to 27th November. The Conference, which is run by Getenergy, provides an opportunity for representatives of the oil and gas industry to discuss the personnel and training challenges they face in ensuring the long-term viability of their companies.

One of the main difficulties facing the industry is the lack of technically trained personnel available from within the region. The shortage of industry workers arising out of this expansion is being exacerbated by the large percentage of the industry’s global workforce that is approaching retirement age. According to a 2012 International Labour Organisation (ILO) report, the industry is currently suffering from shortages in a wide range of skilled occupations. The report says that almost four out of five oil and gas companies complained that technical skills were a main area of staff shortages.
This global problem is particularly acute in Gulf countries, where oil and gas companies have traditionally relied on an expatriate workforce to meet labour force demands. However, as the global talent pool dries up and expatriate labour becomes increasingly expensive to maintain, these companies are looking to the local workforce to fill more positions across a range of technical areas.
This increased reliance on local talent has many benefits for Gulf countries where youth unemployment rates are significantly higher than base unemployment rates. In addition, many of the skills being learnt by new entrants to the industry are transferable to future employment outside of the oil and gas sectors – helping to fuel the drive in Gulf countries towards more diversified, knowledge-based economies.
However, the up-skilling of local populations presents a major challenge not only for oil and gas companies operating in the GCC, but also for local governments and training providers. VTEC MENA offers an excellent opportunity for the industry to connect with education and training organisations that have the knowledge and experience necessary to help tackle this deep-set skills crisis.
Mark Andrews, the Regional Director of Pearson Qualifications International (PQI), says that vocational training is critical to ensuring the long-term success of the industry.
“The fast growing oil and gas and unconventional energy sectors are driving huge demand for vocationally trained employees throughout the Arab world. It is unsustainable to continue to have key technical functions in these businesses carried out by a transient, expatriate labour force.
“Developing partnerships between large petrochemical companies and training providers is one way in which oil and gas companies can build local talent in their organisations. Investing in the development of nationals working in the industry by providing them with an internationally accredited qualification has shown to be effective in safeguarding the future prosperity of both individuals and the companies in which they work”.
About Getenergy:
Getenergy is an independent, privately owned, organisation that brings together education providers with national and international upstream oil and gas companies and governments. Getenergy’s mission is to develop human capital for the energy industry.
About Pearson:

Pearson is the world’s largest learning company, operating in more than 80 countries around the world, bringing powerful learning solutions to millions of learners every year. Pearson takes learning personally. Our courses and resources are available in print, online and through multi-lingual packages, helping people learn whatever, wherever and however they choose. Our education imprints combine 150 years of experience and include online support for every learner.  Our innovative and dynamic digital learning products and services are changing the learning landscape all around the globe and our qualifications are positively transforming the futures of learners of all ages and backgrounds.  Pearson can boast a comprehensive English Language offering that consists of engaging content and cutting edge testing solutions. To find out more, visit