Riyadh: Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Arab News Staff
Publication Date: 
Mon, 2012-04-16 05:10

The move is in response to new educational initiatives launched by the government with an aim to cut reliance on foreign workers.
McGraw-Hill Education is also working on proposals to team-up with local Saudi companies.
Robert J. Bahash, McGraw-Hill Education president, said he was visiting the Kingdom to explore opportunities in education and training and "how we can be helpful in providing material, content and assessment capability to educate the workforce to make a stronger country going forward."
Talia M. Griep, president of McGraw-Hill Education International and Thanos Blintzios, managing director for Middle East, Africa, Greece and Eastern Europe, accompanied Bahash on the visit.
Bahash said of plans to boost presence of McGraw-Hill Education in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East that the company was looking to team up with companies and entities with certain skills in the Kingdom, which could help achieve the objectives he was trying to achieve. “We are looking for the right partners,” he said, adding that the company had marketed a number of educational programs in the past in this region.
He pointed out that McGraw-Hill had been involved in the development of mathematics and science curricula for the ministries of education in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. “We have delivered student books, teacher guides, supplementary materials in e-format and in print, as well as a complete professional development solution for teachers to allow them an easy shift to the new curricula,” said Bahash, who joined McGraw-Hill in 1974.
McGraw-Hill Education has had a major assessment contract in Qatar for several years Bahash noted that there were even larger opportunities for McGraw-Hill to partner with Saudi Arabia to provide instructional design, assessment and other education services.
Bahash added that McGraw-Hill Education is a leading global content and services-based company drawing on more than 100 years of expertise to offer solutions, which improve learning outcomes for students and professionals worldwide.
With reference to digital learning, he said that McGraw-Hill Education was committed to providing educators with the tools needed to meet the requirements of ground-breaking reforms including digital learning. “We currently produce all our content digitally and we are adept at delivering it in any form required by our customers,” he added.
McGraw-Hill’s digital learning solutions have been selected as finalists for the Software and Information Industry Association's (SIIA) 2012 CODiE Awards in educational technology in the United States. The CODiE Awards, an annual awards program that recognizes excellence in software development in the software industry, and is the only peer-recognition program  in the industry.
Bahash said that McGraw-Hill Education had a substantial presence in the Middle East and Asian countries including China and India. McGraw-Hill recently formed a joint venture with China’s New Oriental Education & Technology Group to operate education centers that utilize the company’s custom-designed curricula and assessments, while integrating Western pedagogy with the company’s advanced digital capabilities to equip students in China with 21st century skills.
Asked about the agreement of McGraw-Hill with Apple, that delivers state-of-the-art, interactive McGraw-Hill e-textbooks in a range of subjects, Bahash pointed out “Apple approached us back in 2011 to provide education on iPad device.” He said that, “substantial amounts of content can migrate to electronic devices through our partnership with Apple and other technology companies.” It is anticipated that tablets and other devices will take the use of e-textbooks to another level.
Following his talks with officials of the Ministry of Education and representatives with private education companies Bahash said he was extremely encouraged that there was such a strong emphasis on improving education in Saudi Arabia.

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