DOHA: Foundation programmes in the Gulf have a particularly important role in areas such as improving English proficiency, expanding knowledge and skills and cultural literacy, according an expert.
Dr Mark Newmark, Assistant Director of the Academic Bridge Programme (ABP) of Qatar Foundation, in a presentation at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q), discussed challenges foundation programmes are facing in the Gulf.
It surveyed the gap between high school graduation and university readiness in the Gulf, outlining the scale of the gap and its components.
The presentation cited a number of sources, including student performance on the International English Language Testing System, the Programme for International Student Assessment and evidence from foundation programmes and universities in Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
The presentation stressed five areas in which foundation programs in the Gulf have a particularly important role — the improvement of English proficiency, expansion of content knowledge and skills, the cultivation of cultural literacy, the development of soft skills, and the fostering motivation.
A conversation followed the presentation, with representatives from different institutions asking evocative questions and sharing their experiences.
There was widespread enthusiasm for more dialogue between foundation programmes, between foundation programmes and schools, and between foundation programmes and universities.