Year

2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

University of Wollongong. Faculty of Education

Abstract

This study was conducted to evaluate the provision of gifted education in Saudi Arabia, which had not been assessed since its commencement 12 years ago. This study represents a comprehensive and objective evaluation of all the gifted centres that provide care and services for gifted students in Saudi Arabia, in order to achieve the following objectives:
1. Identify and classify different policies of planning and providing programs for gifted students in Saudi Arabia;
2. Identify and evaluate the effectiveness of procedures used in selecting gifted students in Saudi Arabia;
3. Identify and evaluate the effectiveness of procedures used in selecting and training specially qualified teachers and administrative staff who work with gifted students in Saudi Arabia;
4. Identify and evaluate the effectiveness of strategies and curriculum approaches implemented in programs for the gifted students in Saudi Arabia; and
5. Provide a guideline for a Saudi model of evaluating, planning, and implementing programs for gifted students.

In order to carry out these objectives, the study used a mixed method design with data collected through questionnaires, interviews, and observation. The participants of this study were administrators, supervisors and teachers who work in gifted centres in Saudi Arabia, including gifted students and their parents. The total number of participants of both genders numbered 541 participants. This research study sought response to the following questions: 1. What are the current gifted policies, and how have they been implemented? 2. What are the current gifted provisions, and how have they been developed? 3. What procedures are used to select gifted students for gifted programs, and how effective are they?
4. What procedures are used to select and train teachers for gifted programs, and how effective are they?
5. What strategies and curriculum approaches are implemented for gifted students, and how effective are they?
6. How can provisions for gifted students be improved?
7. Are there differences in the provisions for gifted girls and gifted boys in Saudi Arabia? What effects do these differences have on the key stakeholders’ satisfaction with the education of gifted students?

The results of the study showed a reduced performance by the Ministry of Education in terms of providing gifted education. There was no clear policy and no follow-up despite the existence of legislation that allows for the implementation of appropriate methodologies for the gifted. In addition, identification of gifted students was also a problem. Provision of this type of education has not yet embodied the means of identifying gifted children nor the selection and training of supervisors and teachers. Further appropriate curricula were also lacking. Finally, there was a notable lack of financial support either from the Ministry of Education or the private sector. This is somewhat puzzling given that it is the latter sector which most benefits from the education of gifted students. This study has suggested best practice for the care of gifted students in Saudi Arabia, based on the recommendations reached by the researcher through the discussion of results.

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