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Education and Training

Education is a vital factor in the progression and development of any nation. The youth of the Kingdom are the main pinnacles of growth and aspiration, paving the way towards a knowledge driven society. This section showcases the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to promote and ensure that knowledge and skills are imbedded throughout the culture, preparing the adolescents of the nation to progress into the building blocks of their society. Here, you will be taken through the many programs in the education system dedicated to early childhood advancement, while also understanding the public education system. This segment will also shed light on the conditions of general education for non-Saudis, the national and foreign education related to private schools, special education programs and training curricula for individuals with disabilities, distance education and e-learning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, health and safety awareness and measures of implementation in the schooling.

“Education shall aim to instill the Islamic creed in the young, impart knowledge and skills to them, and prepare them to be useful members in the building of their society, loving their homeland, and taking pride in its history.”   ...... (Basic Law of Saudi Arabia Article 13)

Tasks and Responsibilities of the Ministry of Education

Early Childhood stage

This stage is dedicated to children under the age of six and is offered through government and private kindergartens throughout the Kingdom and are divided into nurseries and pre-school. A free accord offered by the Ministry of Education, devoted to offering Kindergarten children, in small regions and governates of the Kingdom, an opportunity to study in national schools in accordance with the conditions and standards of the Ministry of Education.

  • Maaeen for Special Education

  • A free accord offered by the Ministry of Education devoted to offering children in Kindergarten, Primary, Secondary and Intermediate stages of education the opportunity to study in special education schools or enroll in special education programs in accordance with the required conditions and standards.


  • Early Childhood Projects and Programs

  • Early childhood projects and programs include:

    • Building curricular and developing systems in early childhood.
    • Virtual Kindergarten.
    • Buildings and equipment.
    • Foundational practices for early childhood literary.
    • Studying criteria and controls for admission regulations and evaluation of students in early childhood stages.
    • Healthy nutrition practices.
    • Attracting specialists and experts of the early childhood stage.


  • Virtual Kindergarten

An application found in the stores of smart phones, containing educational modules in alignment with the Saudi curriculum, in order to provide means of remote education to the greatest number of children.

Public Education

Public education is education that is free and necessary for citizens and residents enrolling in government schools. An appropriate educational environment, facilities, textbooks and means of free transportation are provided by the Ministry of Education for the following three stages:

  1. Elementary School: This stage consists of six academic years, starting at the ages of 5 – 6.
  2. Middle School: This stage consists of three academic years.
  3. High School: This stage consists of three academic years. Industrial institutes and construction and architectural institutes also offer high school levels.

Noor System

Noor System is an inclusive program of educational procedures for registration in schools for primary, secondary, or early childhood stages of education. The Ministry of Education launched this platform with the intent to provide the guardians of students with the opportunity to register their children in any government or private school within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


Number of Students in General Education

Education Type Girls Boys Total
governmental 2692024 2427911 5119935
Special 327879 393964 721843
Foreign education 197584 148414 345998
Total 3217487 2970289 6187776

General Education for Non-Saudis

Non-Saudis residing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are eligible to enroll in the public education sector in all its stages of the following conditions are met:

  • Non-Saudis are accepted in government schools in the event that a significant number of teachers and classes are available, without the need to lease additional buildings. This is carried out after the registration of Saudi students has been completed. For the first semester of both the secondary and intermediate stages, admission is carried out at the beginning of the second round of examinations, after the Saudi students from the first round have successfully passed their examinations and have been granted an official spot in the school.

The selection of non-Saudis for the remaining vacant seats will be in accordance with the following priorities:

  • Children of government sector employees residing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who were registered in the previous academic year in government schools. Preference is given to non-Saudi children born in the Kingdom.
  • New students, who are children of government sector employees, transferred from private schools.
  • In the event that there are vacant seats within the specified percentage, children of retirees of the private sector are registered, however, the priority is given to the children of government sector retirees.
  • The conditions for admission are applicable to the student, meaning he/she must present original educational documents obtained from abroad to be accepted into the appropriate classes.
  • Egyptian students wishing to enroll in the secondary stage must bring the original end-of-basic education form, or the original statement of grades in the Basic Education Completion Certificate Examination, or the official original transcript to demonstrate their success, after approval from the Egyptian Ministry of Education, stamped by the Republic’s logo with confirmation by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Saudi Consulate. 
  • A student holding certifications for secondary transfer grades from any vocational majors at the secondary level is considered for admission based on the appropriate grade after the last certificate of success in general education.
  • Any student who has obtained an end-of-secondary school qualification or vocational majors, is not allowed to repeat high school in the Kingdom.
  • Applicants are transferred if they do not meet these conditions for both public and private schools after the end of the first semester. Their admission to government schools is subject to these controls and procedures for priority vacancies at the beginning of each academic year. In order to achieve justice and equality throughout, children of Saudi women and non-Saudi fathers, children of Gulf Cooperation Council, children displaced by tribes holding five-year cards, members of the Yemeni community, and children of diplomats who hold diplomatic cards, receive the same treatment as Saudi students. For more information on non-Saudi students’ acceptance in the Kingdom’s education sector, please visit this page.

National and Foreign Education (Private Schools)

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia aims to provide education and training created for communities residing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the availability of private schooling in order to provide appropriate education for children within the specific controls and in a manner that achieves continuity of their education upon their return to their country of origin. The Ministry of Education is responsible for the licensing and supervision of private schools through the competent authority therein.  

Each private school is responsible for organizing various aspects of work with the school, while also determining its stance in various educational and academic entities to ensure the continuity of the educational journey for residents in the Kingdom.

The Private and Foreign Education Department seeks to achieve the future vision of investment growth in the private sector at a level that guarantees quality and distinction in the process of education by supervising private and international schools in order to peruse the education provided to male and female students, both citizens and residents alike, in terms of quality and distinction and in alignment with the education policies and policies of the Kingdom. The department also performs an elaborate and distinguished performance that achieves growth for the investors and helps improve the educational and training processes in the private sector, in order to bring the children enrolled in these educational institutions to a higher level of education through modern methods and techniques that attain educational goals in accordance with the Islamic and national principles and values.

Education for People with Disabilities

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in accordance with its capabilities, is concerned with providing equal opportunities to educate individuals with mental and physical disabilities by developing a variety of cultural training curricular that are in line with their situations. This development is done with the aim to provide care to people with special needs by providing them with the necessary education and training to help them to develop appropriate skills, in order to reach the best levels of education, compatible with their abilities. 

Believing in the importance of equal educational opportunities between ordinary children and children with special needs, Saudi Arabia has provided educational services that are suitable for the needs of children with special needs. Specialized institutes have provided them with cases that need special attention and care, and have provided opportunities for blended education for children with disabilities with ordinary children so that everyone can accept the difference in abilities between them.

Special Education

Government institutes for different disabilities including, Institutes of Intellectual Education, Institutes of Visual Impairment, and Institutes of Hearing Impairment, dedicated to being equipped with the necessary curricula compatible with their needs, presented by specialized teachers. Additionally, they provide rehabilitative services to various groups of people with disabilities.

Inclusive Education

Including students with disabilities in general education schools while ensuring that they receive the necessary educational support and rehabilitation services, allowing them to advance with their peers in various classrooms such as learning difficulties, behavioral disorders and autism. The Ministry of Education is keen on creating an educational environment in schools by training its staff to obtain a healthy and stable educational environment suitable for the desires of special need students.

Support Services Department

The agency for public education has developed a department called the Support Services Department, which is affiliated with the General Administration for Special Education. It gains special importance due to its association with all departments by providing its services to all classifications of people with special educational needs in the Kingdom. The aim is to raise the level of support services provided to people with special education needs and help them achieve a level of growth enabling them to depend on themselves, making them productive members of society, in accordance with the requirements of their natural environment.

The educational map of the special education institutes and programs in the education departments in Saudi Arabia

Sinad Project for Special Education

Sinad empowers children with disabilities to obtain suitable job opportunities and education ensuring the development of their independence and integration as active members of society. The project provides them with all the facilities and tools to help them achieve success through the National Transformation Program, launched to contribute to the realization of the Vision 2030 initiatives by developing the education sector, including the Special Education Development Initiative, which aims to support and develop services provided for special education in accordance with the latest international distinguished practices.

Special Education Strategies


An educational strategy developed to provide special education services to all special needs students. This strategy is based on ten main points:

  1. Activating the role of regular schools in the field of raising and educating special needs children.
  2. Expanding the role of special education institutes.
  3. Human core team development in special education institutes and programs.
  4. Developing curricula, study plans and textbooks for special education institutes and programs.
  5. Adopting modern technology to serve the disable.
  6. Developing the organizational structure of the General Administration of Special Education.
  7. Studying existing regulations, developing them, and preparing new regulations for future programs.
  8. Expanding the creation of special education departments in educational departments and activating their role.
  9. Activating the role of scientific research in the field of special education.
  10. Cooperation and coordination with the relevant authorities inside and outside the Kingdom.

View more on special education strategies and special education supporting centers.

Distance Education and E-Learning

The Ministry of Education has provided an e-platform known as the Madrasati platform, to manage and monitor the education processes in line with present and future digital requirements. The platform includes many electronic educational tools that support teaching and learning processes and contribute to achieving the educational goals of curricula and decisions.

For more information about distance education in the Kingdom, click here.

Health and Safety in Schools

The Ministry of Education is concerned with raising awareness, promoting and evaluating student’s health through the use of specific health indicators and monitoring these indicators periodically.

School Health

A set of concepts, principles, systems and services provided with the intent to promote student health at an early age thus raising the level of public health by making use of health skills. Additionally, it engages communication channels and media to spread health awareness both directly and indirectly throughout the general community. This has led the Ministry of Education to work in cooperation with the Ministry of Health on various programs including the following:

  • Regular visits to surrounding environment and school cafeteria
  • Dealing with infectious cases in schools
  • Procedures for dealing with emergencies in schools
  • Education on the COVID-19 pandemic


COVID-19 Pandemic and Education

The Ministry of Education’s believe in the necessity of adhering to the precautionary measures recommended by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia without neglecting the completion of the educational process, taking the initiative to move to the stage of e-learning and distance education by enforcing a secure plan to come up with the educational goals for all members of the educational process including students, teachers, parents, school leaders and educational supervisors.

University and Higher Education

  • Bachelor’s Degree Stage: The ability to obtain a bachelor’s degree is offered by public universities, free of charge to citizens, regular students and external scholarship students, where a monthly income is given throughout the academic period. To access the unified admission portal, click here. This is also offered by private universities in various programs.


Service: Admission to Saudi Public Universities

A service provided by the Ministry of Education aiming to verify the acceptance of all students in all institutions of higher education and training to be used as a reference in preventing duplicate admissions of students in more than one educational institution, in order to assist educational intuitions to optimally invest in the seating made available to them.

Click here for more info about admission services at universities in the Kingdom

Conditions for Admission to Saudi Universities

  • Obtaining a high school diploma for a period not exceeding five years.
  • Passing aptitude tests per the requirements of the major of interest or college. To register for exams, visit the Education Evaluation Commission website.

Qiyas tests / Benchmark tests

  • General Aptitude Test (GAT): is a test for high school graduates who intend to continue their studies in higher education institutions. The test measures a number of abilities associated with the learning process, such as the analytical abilities and evidentiary abilities of students. The test is broken down into two parts, one is a verbal exam (linguistics) and the other is a quantitative exam (mathematics).
  • Academic Achievement Test: is a standardized measure for all secondary school graduates, allowing a fair and accurate criterion for all, which aids the post-secondary educational authorities to select the students who have exceedingly achieved the most in their secondary school curricula.
  • Post-Graduate General Aptitude Test (PGAT): requires students to possess mental capabilities that enable the student to pass the requirements of the academic course regardless of the major. This is a standardized measure to ensure a fair and accurate standard for all university students, thus helping the educational authorities that have post-graduate programs to choose the students who have the most mental abilities to follow-up and meet the requirements of the educational requirements in those specified areas.

Vocational and Technical education

The Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) is concerned with the development of national human resources by training them in a manner that leads to contributing factors to meet the labor market for the required qualified manpower.  It is also concerned with organizing training programs and certifying trainers.

Programs

  • Training programes for boys
  • English Bachelor of Technical Colleges for Boys
  • Diploma of Technical Colleges for Boys
  • Diploma of Secondary Industrial Institutes and Institutes of Architecture and Construction for Boys
  • Secondary industrial school programes for boys
  • Diploma of Technical Colleges for Girls
  • Bachelor of Technical Colleges for Girls
  • Prison training programes for girls
  • English for girls

To view the program details, admission and registration requirments, you can access this page.

Regulations for the Establishment of Non-Profit Training Units in the Field of Technical and Vocational Training.

Conditions of admission and registration:
• To be a Saudi national.
• To have one of the required qualifications: Diploma of the Technical College.
• The applicant should not be continuing in the same training program as applied for.
• The applicant should not be a graduate of the same training program as applied for.

Scholarships

For Saudi Students

Abroad Scholarship

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia provides an opportunity for individuals wishing to continue their education outside the Kingdom in accordance with the needs of the labor market and the requirements and developments of the Kingdom through the scholarship’s programs offered by the Ministry of Education. The scholarship agency at the Ministry of Education is actively preparing and qualifying Saudi human resources with aim to become a competitor in the labor market and scientific fields of research both locally and globally acting as an essential branch in supporting Saudi universities in the public and private sectors with a variety of distinguished competencies.

The Program of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for Foreign Scholarships

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia launched the Program of the Custodian of the Two Holy for Foreign Scholarships in 1426 AH / 2005 AD, with the aim of preparing prominent generations in a society based around knowledge and economy. The program consisted of three phases, each with a duration of 5 years. The third phase included the creation of new paths such as leading universities, medical facilities, international scholarships and excellence.  New specializations have also been created in consistency with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 such as, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, air transport, and health specialties.

Safeer Platform

The Safeer Platform provides smart solutions and distinguished services, which contribute to facilitating procedures to study abroad based on the best practices and international standards, in compliance with scholarship regulations and legislations by the Ministry of Education.


Internal Scholarships

The internal scholarship program is a program for regular students in private universities and colleges. In the event that the Ministry approves the grant request, the Ministry will pay the approved tuition fees based on each specialization accredited per semester in order to ensure that the number of years does not exceed the allocated years of the official grant according to the academic plan for each specialization. The scholarship will continue for students in the event that the terms and conditions are maintained.
Note: The minimum average is 2.75 / 5 and 1.75 / 4.

For Non-Saudi Students

Non-Saudi students can apply for scholarships in public universities by visiting the website of the university of interest or by visiting this page

Leave Days and Official Holidays

The official holidays of the Kingdom related to the education sector include the following:

• Weekend – Thursday and Friday
• Eid Holidays – Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha.
• Mid-term Vacation.
• End of School Year Leave (Summer Vacation).
• National Day Holiday.

You can also access and view the academic calendar for numerous academic years on the Ministry of Education’s website.

Illiteracy and Adult Education

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabis is concerned and dedicated to combating illiteracy through adult education. This form of education is supported technically, financially and administratively, in order to achieve an increase in the nations level of knowledge and spread of culture among the members of society.  A time-plan is presented by the competent educational authorities aimed at accommodating the illiterate and eradicating illiteracy in general and this implementation will be carried out by the relevant ministries and departments. The Ministry of Education has previously created a clear and concise roadmap to tackle illiteracy in various regions and governorates throughout the Kingdom, which contributed to the reduction in the rate of illiteracy, plummeting it to 5.6%.

The Adult Education system and literacy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The Learner Program

The Neighborhood Education Program is an educational and training program implemented for the duration of a full academic year. It is concerned with literacy levels of the trainee, both alphabetically and culturally, with the achievement of scientific skills that contribute to pushing productivity of work and raising awareness on the society’s culture and efforts, positive interactions with society and contributing factors to development.

The program targets adults, both male and female from the age of 15 and above, who do not read or write. It also targets adults of both genders, between the ages of 15 – 60, who hold an academic qualification below the university level.

Initiatives and Efforts in The Educational Aspect

Notability of Talented People

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sponsors talented people and provides them with special care to develop and enhance their talents, offering them an opportunity in the field of their particular genius. The relevant authorities set out the means for their discovery, their educational programs, and the advantages that will lead to their encouragement such as, the Mawhiba program offered by the King Abdul-Aziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity. It provides talented people with the means of scientific research to benefit from their capabilities.

Lifelong Learning Initiative (Estidama)

Estidama is a development initiative working to provide those in need with the necessary life skills to enhance the values of lifelong learning. Additionally, it works to empower the youth of both genders through various educational and training opportunities.

University Exchange Program

The University Exchange Program provides a desire to enhance international cooperation in the field of higher education, in order to develop capabilities, gain knowledge, exchange benefits and strengthen international relations between universities, where innovative programs available in other countries are taken advantage of.

Summer Program (Saifi)

Saifi Program is a program for male and female students above the age of 17. It was created with the aim to provide them with the basic skills, enabling them to invest their spare time during the summer vacation in a way that benefits them.

Saudi Digital Library

The Saudi Digital Library is a massive advanced digital library that includes a variety of specializations that support educational processes and meet the needs of beneficiaries in higher education institutions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The library contains more than 680,000 e-books dedicated to various fields.

Research Centers

Scientific research is one of the most important elements of interest of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It aims to transfer the national economy’s dependance on oil to a more knowledge-based economy. The Kingdom has invested great attention to research and innovation and has set goals that they aim to achieve by the year 2030 including being among the top 10 countries in the Global Competitiveness Index. The Kingdom is home to huge scientific institutions such as the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy and other efficient Saudi research institutions. Moreover, most universities in the Kingdom have established scientific and technical research centers dedicated to a number of sectors of interest. 

Educational Programs in Prisons

The Kingdom is aware of the importance of education and its role in reform and evaluation and the interest of inmates of the prison system to continue their studies. Article (18) of the prison and detention system states that the Ministry of Interior, in agreement with the competent authorities responsible for education and awareness, have developed curricula for education and classification in prisons and detention centers and the executive regulations define the rules and procedures for carrying out examinations for prisoners and detainees in various stages.

The education department in each region nominates a number of qualified workers with the relevant competence and long-term experience in the following areas including reform education, psychology, social services and social sciences, and they carefully choose to organize seminars and lectures for prison inmates in each region in relation to various religious, health psychological and social sciences. The Department of Student Orientation and Guidance in the Department of Education coordinates with prisons in region preparing a general plan that includes the programs and topics for the seminars and lectures, in addition to a timetable for their implementation and supervision. For more, click here. 

Indicators

Important links

Relevant Agencies


Last Modified Date: 24/05/2021 - 9:27 AM Saudi Arabia Time
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