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The vocational oasis that soon turned into a desert

Saudi Arabia’s Colleges of Excellence were launched with much fanfare, but the reality didn’t match the PR

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In 2013, amid enthusiastic applause from the UK government, several prominent FE providers in the UK were unveiled as having won contracts to deliver the Colleges of Excellence programme in Saudi Arabia.

The likes of Pearson TQ and the Hertvec consortium (consisting of Hertford Regional and North Hertfordshire colleges, as well as the University of Hertfordshire) were joining an effort to deliver UK vocational education expertise to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Providers, including organisations from Canada and Germany, were assured that young Saudi learners would literally be knocking at the ...

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