Cambridge Experience Higher Education Event,

Muscat, Oman – 22 Feb 2024 – The Cambridge Experience Higher Education Event, held on Sunday 18 February 2024 at Gulf College in Muscat, Oman, brought together more than 100 attendees from prestigious public and private Higher Education Institutions across Oman. Hosted by Cambridge University Press & Assessment, a global leader in education, the event delved into the critical role of English language assessment in Oman’s Higher Education sector.

This event was organized under the patronage of Her Excellency Dr. Jokha Bint Abdullah Al-Shukaili, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Oman Authority for Academic Accreditation and Quality Assurance of Education (OAAAQA), and in collaboration with the Oman Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education and Gulf College. 

The event highlighted innovative approaches and trends in education and addressed the challenges facing higher education in Oman, particularly in the context of the General Foundation Program (GFP). It showcased a variety of research-based English language learning and assessment solutions tailored to address GFP challenges in Oman.

“We’re committed to excellence and innovation in education,” commented Natasha Arain - Director, English - Middle East & Africa from Cambridge University Press & Assessment. “The Cambridge Experience in Higher Education event was a fantastic opportunity to explore emerging trends and to showcase best practice and integrated learning and assessment solutions for the GFP English programmes in Oman.”

Dr. Hisham AlSaghbini, Regional Assessment, Research and Recognition Manager at Cambridge University Press and Assessment, commented, “A key challenge for the GFP relates to the design and quality of exams used. Based on our research, approximately 50% of institutions in the Sultanate do not align their language exams to the CEFR. This event was an opportunity to propose a set of solutions using our latest exam, Linguaskill, which offers a standardised institutional test combined with reliability and speed.”

Mrs Nabila Al Macki, Chair of the Oman Association of Quality Assurance in Higher Education (OAQHE), said: “We are constantly seeking to elevate the quality of higher education for the benefit of tomorrow's leaders in the educational sector in Oman, and as such, we are delighted to have collaborated with Cambridge University Press & Assessment in organising the Cambridge Experience in Higher Education event.  With its focus on research-based English language learning and assessment, the event was of great importance and relevance to universities and colleges throughout the Sultanate of Oman.” 

Dr. Rima Al Zadjali, Dean of Gulf College also said: “This event brought together educators from around the country to share best practices and learn from experts in the language assessment field and it was a great opportunity to benefit from the vast international expertise of Cambridge University Press and Assessment.”

The event featured distinguished keynote speakers, including:

1. The Future Integration of Language Learning and Assessment - Dr. Nick Saville: An exploration of Cambridge's Learning Oriented Assessment Approach and thought-provoking initiatives shaping the future of education.

2. Key Challenges and Solutions in Higher Education in Oman - Dr. Rima Al Zadjali and Dr. Hisham AlSaghbini:  A comprehensive analysis of challenges in the Higher Education sector, focusing on English Language as a pivotal component of the GFP, along with recommended tools for improvement.

3. Unlock – helping learners to develop their academic skills - Peter Lucantoni: Showcasing the new 3rd edition of Unlock and how it aids academic skills development with updated content, visuals, and resources.

In addition to keynote sessions, the event hosted four concurrent workshops:

1. A Recipe for Teacher Learning by Peter Lucantoni

2. Cambridge Assessment Solutions by Dr. Hisham AlSaghbini

3. Q&A: A Review of the Future of Assessment by Dr. Nick Saville

4. Supporting and Sustaining Teacher Reflection by Dr. Peter Mitchell

OAQHE BoD holds a meeting with members of Sultan Qaboos University