Partnership moving to next stage for Saudi community college
Representatives with the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal University (KFU) met March 1 in Atlanta to begin the second phase of their joint venture to establish KFU as Saudi Arabian’s first community college.
Designated the first Joint Oversight Development Committee, the group of TCSG and KFU officials who met represent a partnership that began in 2012. Attendees included educators from KFU and the presidents and staff of the three TCSG colleges involved in the program — Athens Technical College, Atlanta Technical College and Georgia Northwestern Technical College. JODC members met to discuss plans to offer five TCSG credit programs at KFU this fall.
Last year, officials with KFU and TCSG signed a six-year service contract that began with the implementation of an English as a Second Language (ESL) program on the KFU campus in Alasha, Saudi Arabia. With the ESL program now in place, the second-year focus for the project is adding TCSG credit programs to the Saudi Arabian community college.
During their discussions March 1, members of the Joint Oversight Development Committee turned their attention to the credit program offerings along with faculty qualifications, curriculum development, and program expectations.
Plans are for KFU to offer the following TCSG credit programs beginning the fall of 2013: Health Information Technology; Health, Safety and Environmental Inspector; Information Security Specialist; Inspection Technician; and Internet Specialist-Website Design. To ensure that the programs are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Atlanta Technical College is the lead college in the project and will sign the memorandum of understanding with KFU.
According to Dr. Ahmed Al-Shoaibi, the KFU vice president of development and community services, KFU recently signed an agreement with Saudi Aramco, the largest oil producer in the world, to provide qualified workers for the company’s workforce. KFU is confident that this project with TCSG will provide the technical programs needed to meet the high workforce standards set by Saudi Aramco.
The King Faisal University will serve as a community college with a focus on training potential employees for Saudi Aramco and other companies in the region, Athens Technical College President Flora Tydings said.
“Saudi officials recognized the need to support Saudi Aramco’s production growth by finding more workers with the appropriate skill sets for the company’s jobs, and consequently approached TSCG because of the System’s great reputation and expertise in technical training,” Dr. Tydings said. “This partnership with the Technical College System of Georgia was established for the TCSG to look to its colleges and recruit qualified instructors and offer an exciting opportunity for them to live in Saudi Arabia and teach at the new community college.”
The next joint meeting will be held later this year in Saudi Arabia.
PHOTO: Attendees of the first Joint Oversight Development Committee meeting between the Technical College System of Georgia and King Faisal University on March 1 included: seated (L-R): Dr. Sanford Chandler, assistant commissioner, TCSG Global Initiatives; Dr. Nourredine Khababa, associate professor of finance, graduate studies executive supervisor, KFU; Dr. Ahmed Al-Shoaibi, vice president of development & community services, KFU; Dr. Craig McDaniel, president, Georgia Northwestern Technical College; and Dr. Alvetta Thomas, president, Atlanta Technical College.