The paper “Education System in Saudi Arabia” is an engrossing example of coursework on education. Established in 1902 by King Abdula-Aziz Bin Saud, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is currently among the most developed countries in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is a large country that occupies a huge percentage of the Arabian Peninsula with a land area of 2,250,000 million sq. km, or 868,730 sq. miles (Saudi Arabia Information Resource, 2010). According to information from the Saudi Arabia Information Resource (2010), the population of the country in 2009 was estimated at 25.8 million, and it is also among the countries with the fastest growth rates in the world (Al-Balawi, 2007).

The citizens are predominantly Muslims, and the official religion is Islam, while the official language is Arabic.

History of the Education System

The education system of Saudi Arabia is unique among education systems from across the world (Al-Ahaydib, 1986). The government of Saudi Arabia embraces different scenarios when it comes to formulating and implementing directives that meet religious, social, and cultural requirements. The unique nature of the education system in Saudi Arabia is a result of its history and the government’ s drive to meet its citizens’ needs. The education system in Saudi Arabia has transformed immensely since its inception in 1925.

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Initially, education was most commonly utilized in mosques and later in Qur’ anic Schools, in which students were taught to write and read Arabic (Al-Liheibi, 2008). However, the education system as it stands today can be attributed to the Directorate of Education, which established a formal system in 1925 (Wiseman, 2010). The Directorate of Education was responsible for opening new schools and offices across the country; although the first public schools were established in 1930, only male students were formally enrolled (Wiseman, 2010).

With time, female students were enrolled in schools but segregation between boys and girls existed. Role of Government in the Modern Education System
Saudi Arabia’ s government understands the importance of education, as reflected in the government’ s yearly budget. For example, in 2007, the amount allocated for learning was 25.45% of the total budget, indicating that a quarter of the government’ s budget was used to fulfill the requirements of education (Ramady, 2010). Moreover, it is the only government organization that has not suffered huge financial cuts.

Since 2000, the budget for education has increased, indicating the importance of education to the country’ s development. The Saudi Arabian government also encourages education by providing motivational factors that encourage students to pursue further education or even providing scholarships for students to study internationally (Farsy, 1986). In addition, the government also supplies all public schools and colleges with materials that are required for providing environments conducive to learning. For instance, the government supplies schools and colleges with text-related equipment and technological equipment (Al-Augab, 2007).

To ensure educational resources are used effectively, the government has structured the management of resources through the administration of education resulting in two agencies.

Administration of Education in Saudi Arabia

The education system in Saudi Arabia is centrally administered and managed by two agencies, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education (Al-Balawi, 2007). Even though the agencies are separate with different operational roles, they complement each other to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the Saudi Arabian education system.

References

  1. Al-Ahaydib, M. (1986). Teaching English as a foreign language in the schools of Saudi Arabia. Lawrence: University of Kansas.
  2. Al-Augab, A. (2007). Benefits, Barriers, and attitudes of Saudi female faculty and students towards online learning in higher education. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation: Uunversity of Kansas.
  3. Al-balawi, M. (2007). Critical factors related to the implementation of web-based instruction by higher-education faculty at three Universities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation : University of West Florida.
  4. Al-Hazni, S. (2003). EFL Teacher Preparation Programs in Saudi Arabia: Trends and Challenges. TESOL Quarterly, 37(2), 341-344
  5. Alkhazim, M. (2003). Higher Education in Saudi Arabia: Challenges, Solutions, and Opportunities Missed. Higher Education Policy, 16, 479-486
  6. Al-Liheibi, A. (2008). Middle and High School Students’ Attitudes toward Physical Education in Saudi Arabia. New York: ProQuest
  7. Al-Otaibi, G. (2004). Language learning strategy use among Saudi EFL students and its relationship to language proficiency level, gender and motivation. Indiana: Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  8. Al-Sallom, H. (1995). Education in Saudi Arabia. Washington: The Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau
  9. Alshamsi, M. (2010). Islam and Political Reform in Saudi Arabia: The Quest for Political Change and Reform. London: Taylor & Francis
  10. Al-Shammary, E. (1984). A study of motivation in the learning of English as a foreign language in intermediate and secondary schools in Saudi Arabia, Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation: Indiana University.
  11. Al-Shareef, A. (1995). Geography of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 4th Ed. Riyadh: Dar Almarikh
  12. Alsinbl, A., Alkhateb, M., Metwali, M., & Abdalgawad, N. (1996). The education system in Saudi Arabia. Riyadh: Dar Alkhragy
  13. Cordesman, A. (2012). Saudi Arabia enters the 21st century. London: Greenwood Publishing Group
  14. Cordesman, A.H. (2003). Saudi Arabia Enters the Twenty-First Century. Connecticut: Praeger
  15. Farsy, F. (1986). Saudi Arabia: A Case Study in Development, 4th Ed. London: Routledge.
  16. Giles, H., & Billings, A. (2004). Language attitudes. In: Davies, A., Elder, E. (Eds.), Handbook of Applied Linguistics. Oxford: Blackwell.
  17. Ramady, M. (2010). The Saudi Arabian Economy: Policies, Achievements, and Challenges, 2nd Ed. New York: Springer
  18. Saudi Arabia Information Resource. (2010). Saudi Arabia profile. Retrieved 25 March, 2013, from http://www.saudinf.com
  19. Wiseman, A. (2010). The uses of evidence for educational policymaking: Global contexts and international trends. Review of Research in Education, 34(1), 1-24
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