Saudi Gazette report
JEDDAH , The Saudi Education and Training Evaluation Commission (ETEC) announced the launch of standardized tests for university graduates. The tests, which began on May 17 and will continue until June 6, are not linked to the success of students or their failure in majors, it was announced.
The exams, which will be applied for the first time in the history of university education in the Kingdom, is one of the outputs of the commission’s Jahiziya program to raise the readiness of the university graduates to take up jobs in the local employment market.
Jahiziya program, which target students in the final year of their bachelor’s degrees, aims to evaluate and support improvement of the performance of bachelor’s students as well as to help universities and government and private colleges know the quality of their outputs and opportunities for improvement, without affecting the success or failure of students.
The number of students targeted by these exams is approximately 17,000 male and female students, and the exams are being held in 200 centers belonging to 48 universities and colleges across Saudi Arabia. The standardized tests for this year include 13 university majors such as finance, accounting, marketing, finance and investment, risk and insurance, banking and financial markets, computer engineering, computer science, software engineering, information systems, information technology, cybersecurity/ information security , and artificial intelligence.
These standardized tests come in implementation of the decision of the Council of Universities Affairs, which includes popularizing the standardized test with the aim of evaluating the outputs of knowledge, skills and values of graduates in their respective specialisations. This is through assessing the level of quality of standards by conducting tests on a sample number of university graduates every three years.
The commission launched the program to raise the readiness of graduates of higher education for the labor market (Jahiziya) to set a specialized framework that represents the minimum level of knowledge, skills and values for each specialized field, through cooperation between scientific teams from universities and specialized teams from representatives of the relevant government and private sector agencies, and then conduct standardized tests for graduates in light of the specialized framework. The ETEC has followed a specific methodology for formulating specialized standards, represented in surveying excellent international experiences, identifying national needs in the labor market, and consulting with employers and academic experts.
The Jahiziya The program aims to measure the outputs of academic programs and contribute to improving them. It also targets enhancement of graduates’ acquisition of knowledge, skills and learning outcomes required for each specialized discipline, and raise their readiness to join the labor market, by enhancing the alignment between the outputs of academic programs and the requirements of the labor market. This contributes to reducing unemployment rates and achieving one of the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.
The ETEC followed a specific methodology for building specialized standards, which consisted of looking at distinguished international experiences, identifying national needs in the labor market, and consulting employers and academic experts.
More than 40 entities from government and private sectors participated in the implementation of this programme. The entities related to financial and accounting majors include Ministry of Finance, Saudi Central Bank, Capital Market Authority, the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority, Government Expenditure & Projects Efficiency Authority, Financial Skills Center at the Ministry of Finance, Saudi National Bank, SABIC , and the Saudi Organization for Chartered and Professional Accountants.
Information technology disciplines: The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA), National Cybersecurity Authority, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the Saudi Information Technology Company (SITE), the Advanced Technology and Cybersecurity Company, and the Saudi Digital Academy
The ETEC works according to its mission and objectives, in cooperation and integration with government institutions to contribute to raising the quality and efficiency of education and training in a way that contributes to achieving the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 and the objectives of the Human Capacity Development Program.