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Dean of the Olaysha Center for Girls, Nora Al-Shaikh, led a ceremony on December 8, which launched the new Excellence Center of Science and Mathematics Education (ECSME) at King Saud University’s Olaysha campus.
Established by the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) in 2007 to build a solid research base about ways instruction can be improved, ECSME researchers work with educators and student populations to develop better mathematics and science learning environments and provide Saudi educators with professional development opportunities.
The decision to establish and finance of ECSME was made during the second phase of MOHE’s Excellence Centers program, and based upon growing evidence that improving science and mathematics education will be a key to success for 21st century economies, which will depend on workers with advanced knowledge and skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
ECSME consists of three major units: the National Research and Project Unit, the Community Partnerships and Outreach Unit and the Training and Human Development Unit. The center staff includes a number of full-time and part-time researchers, while there are currently five research groups working in collaboration with international institutions and expertise in conducting research and which adopt an upgrading perception of science and mathematics.
The Olaysha Training and Human Development Unit, led by coordinator Nidal Shaban Al-Ahmed, will be charged with organizing training courses and workshops for students and teachers at the general and university levels. She says that ECSME facilities will include science and research laboratories for training graduate students in science and mathematics.
In order to achieve their objectives, ECSME specialists run training courses for teachers and students in general educational, faculty staff members and graduate students. The Center not only offers a broad selection of training courses for science and mathematics educators, making use of the staff’s extensive international experience in science and mathematics education.
ECSME Director Fahad Al Shaya pointed out that the opening of the women’s office comes in the context of ECSME’s wider mission, which is to offer educational support on the local, Arabic and international levels.