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General Information

The government's awareness of the key role of quality manpower in the social and economic development of the Kingdom has prompted it to give bountiful support to the education sector. The Saudi government provides general education for both boys and girls, through the Ministry of Education, the General Presidency of Girls Education and other specialized agencies. General education in the Kingdom consists of six years of primary school and three years each of intermediate and high school. The government provides free general and higher education (post secondary), and financial help for male and female students in some areas of general education. University students receive financial help and free housing. In addition, meals, books, and transportation are provided at subsidized prices. Female students are provided with free transportation.


Ministry of Education

Website in Arabic:

Website in English:

Saudi Arabia Ministry of Education Website
To meet the manpower needs of the Kingdom in the long term and the increasing demand for higher education, sixteen universities and colleges have been established, offering subjects from engineering, medicine, and geology to social and Islamic studies. During the period 1989-1993 the number of elementary schools increased from 8,370 to more than 10,000; the number of intermediate schools from 2,884 to more than 4000; the number of secondary schools from 1,103 to more than 1,700, and the number of teacher training colleges from 40 to 43. However, the sixth development plan targets for female and male graduates in general education and graduates at bachelor degree level by university are presented in tables 6 and 7 respectively.

Education Statistics:
The number of students at all levels of education rose from 600,000 in 1969 - 1970 (1389 - 1390 H) to some 4 million in 1996. The average annual increase during this period was 7.1% for male students and 13% for female students. The number of schools and colleges run by the Ministry of Education (responsible for boys education) and the General Presidency for Girls' Education increased from 3,283 in 1969 - 1970 (1389 - 1390 H) to 22,000 in 1994 - 1995 (1414 - 1415 H). Schools for boys rose from 2,654 in 1969 - 1970 (1389- 1390 H) to 10,419 in 1992 - 1993 (1412 - 1413 H), an annual increase of 6%. Schools for girls grew from 453 in 1969 - 1970 (1389 - 1390 H) to 10,558 in 1994 - 1995 (1414 - 1415 H), an annual increase of 13.8%. he number of graduates of higher education, male and female, increased from 808 in 1969 - 1970 (1389 - 1390 H) to 5,124 in 1979 - 1980 (1399 - 1400 H) and to 12,812 in 1984 - 1985 (1404 - 1405 H) . In 1994 - 1995 (1414 - 1415 H) the number of male and female university graduates reached 23,074.





Education System

Elementary School:
Length of program in years: 6
Age level from: 6 to: 12
Certificate/diploma awarded: Elementary Education Certificate

Intermediate School:
Length of program in years: 3
Age level from: 12 to: 15
Certificate/diploma awarded: Intermediate School Certificate

General Secondary School:
Length of program in years: 3
Age level from: 15 to: 18
Certificate/diploma awarded: Tawjihiyah

Technical: Junior College
Length of program in years: 3
Age level from: 15 to: 18
Certificate/diploma awarded: Secondary Vocational School Diploma, Secondary Commercial School Diploma, Secondary Agricultural School Diploma


Secondary Education

Secondary school education lasts for three years following upon three years of intermediate education. Pupils can choose between general secondary and technical schools. In the first year of general secondary school, pupils share a common curriculum. At the end of this year, they are divided into the scientific and literary tracks for the final two years. Students obtaining a score of 60% in all the first year subjects may choose between the literary and scientific track. Students obtaining a score less than 60% must opt for the literary track. The course culminates in the Tawjihiyah. Technical education includes vocational, commercial and agricultural schools. An Intermediate School Certificate is required for admission. Courses lead to the Secondary Vocational School Diploma, the Secondary Commercial School Diploma and the Secondary Agricultural School Diploma.


Higher Education

Higher education is provided by universities, an Institute of Public Administration and teachers' colleges. The Higher Education Council makes proposals relative to the overall policy of higher education and supervises the application of the state policy in scientific research. The Prime Minister is the president of the Council. The Ministry of Higher Education supervises the execution of the Kingdom's policy in the field of higher education. It supervises the universities. Each university has a university council.

Saudi Universities are supervised by the Ministry of Higher Education, and regulated by The Council of Higher Education.


Ministry of Higher Education

Tel: +966 216 8655
Fax: +966 216 7815

Website (in Arabic):

Website (in English):

Ministry of Higher Education Website
Higher Education in Saudi Arabi (2005-2010)

A Beautiful Educational Video about the Higher Education in Saudi Arabia (Video in English)

Courtesy of the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Higher Education


Foreign Students Admission

Admission Requirements: Foreign students should hold qualifications equivalent to the Tawjihiyah with required pass mark.

Entry Regulations: Students must hold a visa.

Language Requirements: Good knowledge of Arabic is necessary except for the University of Petroleum and Minerals where teaching is in English.


Children With Special Needs

The Special Education Group at the Directorate of Primary Education is responsible for identifying the handicapped students and the supervision of students with special needs in public schools as well as special institutions abroad.

Some government schools have remedial classes for slow learners and low achievers according to the school's needs for these classes. The Ministry also adopts in a group of schools the project of integrating students with special needs into ordinary classes together with their normal peers with the aim of avoiding their separation from the environmental life, i.e., the ordinary schools and classes.

The Special Education Group takes also the responsibility of discovering other cases such as mentally retardation, deaf, speech defect, and blind in government schools and transferring them to the specialized institutions and centers supported by the Ministry.


Sources:, Ministry of Planning, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
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