Transforming education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Building Leadership for Change through School Immersion Program

Principal investigator:
Originating sponsor:
Saudi Arabia Ministry of Education
Grant start date:
October 1, 2017
Grant end date:
January 31, 2019

The challenge:

"Building Leadership for Change through School Immersion" is an initiative of the Ministry of Education of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Its aim is to strengthen the values, skills, knowledge and attitudes of teachers, counselors and principals through university-led structured immersion in high-performing, English-speaking K–12 school systems. The ministry designed the initiative to transform the Saudi Arabian education system to strengthen the country's competitiveness, support economic diversification and provide the human capital required for the success of KSA's Vision 2030 and National Transformation plans. "Building Leadership" participants are expected to be effective change agents when they return to Saudi Arabia. 

The approach:

Arizona State University's Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College has strong partnerships with K–12 schools in Arizona, as well as extensive experience working with international educators. For the KSA Building Leadership initiative, the Center for Advanced Studies in Global Education at MLFTC will provide a year of study at ASU for 46 teacher leaders from Saudi Arabia. ASU will coordinate the program with Global Launch; Ashoka’s Youth Venture; and the Washington Elementary, Phoenix Elementary, and Cave Creek Unified school districts. A five-part program of study offered at ASU will include orientation to U.S. educational institutions, English language training, technical knowledge and skills development, and guided immersion in an Arizona school district. While at ASU, participants will develop individual professional development plans that include an action research proposal for a capstone project. Those projects will support the sixth phase of their participation, the implementation of their project in their classrooms and schools upon returning home.

Findings and impact:

At the end of the program, MLFTC will provide the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission and the KSA Ministry of Education with a comprehensive report showing attainment and progress toward attainment of goals for the participants, as well as overall trends. The report will include the activities and technical approach of the program, the engagement level of participants and comparisons of pre- and post-measures of English proficiency, confidence, openness to new methodologies and knowledge of language acquisition methodologies and assessment.