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

For children under six years of age. This stage is not compulsory it is offered through government and private kindergartens and, and it is divided into (Nurseries - Preschool).

  • Maaeen to kindergarten

  • A free grant offered by the Ministry of Education for special education schools and private special education programs for the following stages of education: Primary, Secondary, Intermediate and Kindergarten in accordance with specific standards and requirements.

  • Maaeen for special education

  • A free grant offered by the Ministry of Education for special education schools and private special education programs for the following stages of education: Primary, Secondary, Intermediate and Kindergarten in accordance with specific standards and requirements.

  • Early childhood programs

  • Among the projects and programs of the General Administration of Early Childhood: Creating curriculum and system development in early childhood, virtual kindergarten, buildings and equipment, fundemental practices of early childhood literacy, study of the criteria and controls of the Regulations on Admission and Evaluation of Students in Early Childhood Schools, healthy nutrition in early childhood schools, and the recruitment of experts and specialists at this stage.

  • Virtual kindergarten

An application on smartphone's that contains educational modules aligned with the Saudi curriculum to provide education to the largest number of children remotely.

Public Education

It is free and compulsory education for citizens and residents’ students of government schools. Saudi Arabia provides, through the Ministry of Education, the appropriate educational environment, and prepares facilities and textbooks as well as free transportation. It has three stages:

  • Elementary school | It consists of six academic years. The students can start this stage at the age of 5 years and six months, or six years.
  • Middle school | It consists of three academic years.
  • High school | It consists of three academic years. Also, it is offered at vocational schools.

Noor System

It is for registration in schools for the first grade or early childhood students, or even for the student who want to enroll in Saudi schools in Saudi Arabia. The Ministry of Education provides the unified registration platform (Noor System) through which the student’s guardian can register his/her son or daughter in any of the government or private schools in Saudi Arabia. For further information: the guide of using Noor system.

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

The residents in Saudi Arabia can enroll in public education of all its stages if the following conditions are met:

  • Non-Saudis are accepted in government schools if there are sufficient teachers and available classes, without the need to rent additional buildings. The admission will be opened after the completion of registering Saudi students. The registration for the 7th and 10th grade will be at the beginning of the second-round exam and after the completion of registering the Saudi students who have passed the first-round exams.
  • The selection of non-Saudis over the remaining vacant seats will be according to the following priorities:
    • Students whose parents are working in the government sector and residing in Saudi Arabia and who are registered in the previous academic year in government schools. The preference is given to those born in Saudi Arabia.
    • New students whose parents are working in the government sector and who are transferred from private schools.
    • If there are vacant seats according to the specified percentage, the students whose parents are working in the private sector will be registered and will follow the same priorities that are applied to the students whose parents are working in the government sector.
  • The conditions for admission and equivalencies are applied to the student, and he/she must submit his/her original required study documents that is obtained from abroad to be equalized and accepted in the appropriate class.
  • It is required to bring the original end-of-basic education form for Egyptian students who want to enroll in high school, or the original statement of the grades of a student in the Basic Education Completion Certificate Examination, or the original official transcript or the original notification of a student’s result in the Basic Education Certificate
  • Examination, after being approved by the Egyptian Ministry of Education with the approval of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Saudi Consulate.
  • A student who holds certificates for secondary transfer classes from any vocational specializations at the secondary level that are not equivalent, and he/she is considered for admission to the appropriate grade after the last certificate proving success in general education is equivalent.
  • Any student who obtained the final secondary school qualification, or the vocational secondary school, is not allowed to repeat secondary school in Saudi Arabia.
  • Those who do not meet these conditions, or those who do not have vacant seats are transferred to private schools or to public schools after the end of the first semester, because their admission to government schools is subject to these controls and procedures for preference for vacant seats at the beginning of each school year, in order to achieve justice and equality among all.
  • With the exception of children of Saudi citizen woman from a non-Saudi father, children of Gulf Cooperation Council citizens, children of displaced tribes who hold five-year cards and those with similar status, members of the Yemeni community, and children of diplomats who hold the diplomatic card, so they are the same as Saudi students in their treatment. For more on accepting non-Saudi students, please visit this page.

National and foreign education (Private Schools)

In the education sector, Saudi Arabia seeks to provide education and training to communities living in the Kingdom through private foreign schools. These schools will provide appropriate education for the children of these communities, within specific controls, in order to achieve the continuation of their education upon their return to their countries. The Ministry licenses and supervises foreign schools and their branches through the competent authority.

The Private Education Office seeks to acheive the future vision for the investment growth of private sector at a level of quality and excellence in the educational process through supervision of community and global schools/institutes;to pursue the education offered to students in terms of excellence and quality, and to keep pace with the education approach and policy in Saudi Arabia. The Private Education Office performs a significant and outstanding performance that will enable the investor to develop and assist in improving the educational and training work in the private sector. By reaching educational institutions and institutes's students a higher level of educaton through modern methods and techniques, which will achieve educational objectives within Islamic and national principles and values.

Special Education for People with Disabilities

Saudi Arabia, according to its capabilities, is concerned with providing equal opportunities to educate persons with mental and physical disabilities, and develops various special cultural and training curricula that are compatible with their situations. It aims to provide the necessary education to people with special needs and training them with appropriate means in order to have them reach the best level that is 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, "Institutes of Intellectual Education - Institutes of Visual Impairment - Institutes of Hearing Impairment.” These institutions have been equipped according to the needs and they are providing curriculums that are compatible with the students with different abilities through specialized teachers.

Inclusive Education

Inclusion of students with special needs in general education schools, while providing supportive educational and rehabilitation services that ensure their compatibility with their peers in different classes, such as (learning difficulties - behavioral disorders and autism). The Ministry of Education is keen to create an educational environment in integration schools and to train staff to obtain a healthy educational environment that are suitable for the needs of students with special needs.

Support Services Department

The Agency for Public Education allocates a department that is called the Support Services Department, which is affiliated with the General Administration for Special Education, and it gains special importance due to its association with all departments and providing its services to all groups of people with special educational needs in Saudi Arabia. The aim of it is to raise the level of support services provided to people with special educational needs, and employ them to help them In achieving growth that enables them to depend on themselves, and make 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

A project dedicated to empowering all children with disabilities to obtain suitable education and job opportunities aimed at promoting their independence and contribution as active participants in society, while providing them with all the necessary tools and facilities to assist in their success. This project includes the National Transformation Program, launched in alignment with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 initiative and the objective to develop the education sector including the development of special education services that support and develop services provided in special education sectors in accordance with the most recent international practices.

Special Education Strategies

An education strategy dedicated to providing special education services to all excelling students. This strategy is implemented through the following ten steps:

  1. Enhancing the role of regular schools and ensuring that they are equipped to educate excelling students.
  2. Developing the roles of special education institutes.
  3. Human Resources development of special education institutes and programs.
  4. Developing study plans, curriculum and textbooks for special education institutes and programs
  5. Implementing modern technology to assist the disabled.
  6. Enhancing the organizational structure of the General Admission of Special Education.
  7. Understanding existing regulations, improving them and preparing new regulations for future programs.
  8. Increasing the amount of special education departments and initiating their roles.
  9. Commencing the role of scientific research in the sector of special education.
  10. Liaising and engaging with the relevant internal and external authorities.

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

Distance Education and E-Learning

The Ministry of Education provides an e-platform (Madrasati platform) to manage and follow up the education process in line with the digital requirements of the present and the future. The platform includes many electronic educational tools that support teaching and learning processes, and contribute to achieving the educational goals of the curricula and decisions.

For further information: Distance education in Saudi Arabia

Health and Safety in Schools

The Ministry of Education is concerned with raising awareness, promoting and evaluating students' health, by using specific health indicators, and monitoring them periodically.

School Health

It is a set of concepts, principles, systems and services provided; With the aim of promoting student health at an early age to raise the level of public health, by making use of health sciences. In addition to employing communication and media to spread health awareness directly in the school, or indirectly in the general community. Therefore, the Ministry of Education works in cooperation with the Ministry of Health on many programs, such as:

  • Regular visits to the environment and the school canteen
  • Dealing with infectious cases in schools
  • Mechanism for dealing with emergencies in schools

COVID-19 Pandemic and Education

The Ministry of Education believed 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, but it did not neglect the completion of the educational process, so it took the initiative to move to the stage of e-learning and distance education within a tight plan. To come up with the educational goals for all members of the educational process (student, teacher, parent, school leader, educational supervisor).

University and Higher Education

  • Studying to get bachelor degree is offered by public universities free of charge to citizens, and for all regular students and external scholarship students during the study period, a monthly stipend is paid. To access the unified admission portal, click here. It is also offered by private universities with its various programs.
  • Masters and PhD stages.
  • University system
  • Service: Admission to Saudi Public Universities

It is a service provided by the Ministry of Education that aims to verify the acceptance of students in all institutions of higher education and training; To be a reference in preventing duplicate admission of a student or a student in more than one educational institution, in order to help educational institutions to optimally invest the study seats available to them.

More 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 examinations as required for the major or college. To register for the exams; Visit the Education and
  • Training Evaluation Commission website.

Aptitudes Tests

  • General Aptitude Test (GAT): GAT targets secondary school graduates who wish to pursue their studies in higher education. It measures several aspects that are related to the educational process, such as a student's analytical and deductive skills. The test is composed of two sections: verbal (language-related) and quantitative (mathematic).
  • Academic Achievement Test: It is a unified measure for all secondary school graduates and designed to be a fair and accurate standard. It helps educational institutions beyond the secondary school stage to choose the highest achieving students in secondary school subjects.
  • Post-Graduate General Aptitude Test (PGAT): Some universities and colleges require the test for admission to their graduate programs. Applicants to such institutions must take the test, including university graduates. This test is a standardized measure and fair standard to sort out the applicants for post-graduate studies.

Vocational and Technical education

The Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) is concerned with the development of national human resources by providing training opportunities which contribute effectively to meeting the needs of the labor market for qualified manpower. It is also involved in organizing training programs and certifying trainers.

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.


For Saudi Students

Abroad Scholarship

Saudi Arabia provides an opportunity for those wishing to pursue their education abroad according to the needs of the labor market and the requirements of development in Saudi Arabia. The scholarship programs are offered by the Ministry of Education and it aims at preparing and qualifying Saudi human resources to become a competitor in the labor market and scientific research fields globally and locally and supporting the Saudi universities in the public and private sectors with distinctive competencies.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques' External Scholarship Program

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia launched the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques' External Scholarship Program in 1426 AH / 2005 AD with the aim of qualifying competencies for a society that is built on knowledge-based economy.
The program consisted of three phases, each phase lasted 5 years. In the third phase, new tracks have been created, including: Ivy League Universities, the medical track, international scholarships, and excellence. New specializations have also been added to the program that are in line with the Saudi Arabia's vision 2030, such as: artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, air transport, and health specialties.

Safeer Platform

It provides smart solutions and distinguished services that contribute to facilitating study abroad procedures based on best practices and international standards, and in compliance with scholarship regulations and Ministry of Education legislation.

Internal Scholarships

The Internal Scholarship Program is a special program for students enrolled in private universities and colleges. If the Ministry of Education approved the scholarship request, it will pay the tuition fees according to each specialization accredited semesterly, so that it does not exceed the number of years of the scholarship according to the academic plan for each specialization. The scholarship continues for students if they sustain the controls, conditions and do not fall below the minimum GPA 2.75 / 5 and 1.75 / 4.

For Non-Saudi Students

They can apply for scholarships in public universities via visiting the website of the university they want to enroll in, or you can visit this page.

Leave days and official holidays

The Kingdom’s official holiday days are as such:

  • Weekends: Friday and Saturday.
  • Eid Al Adha and Eid Al Fitr.
  • Mid-year vacation
  • End of the school year leave.
  • National Day holiday

Illiteracy and Adult Education

Saudi Arabia is concerned with combating illiteracy and adult education, and is supporting this type of education technically, financially and administratively, in order to improve the literacy rate. A time-bound plan that is statically driven has been drawn up by the competent educational authorities to eradicate illiteracy. The Ministry of Education created a clear roadmap to combat basic literacy in the various regions and governorates in Saudi Arabia, which contributed to reducing the basic literacy’s rate to 5.6%.

Adult education system and literacy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The Learner Program

It is an educational and training program for one academic year. This program is concerned with literacy of the trainees and aims at endowing them with the skills needed for the labor market, raising awareness of the society's culture, and contributing to development. It targets adults of both genders who do not read or write in the age group (15 - and over) and adults of both genders who hold a lower educational qualification less than a university degree in the age group (15 - 60).

Initiatives and Efforts in The Educational Aspect

Sponsoring Talented Individuals

Saudi Arabia is sponsoring talented individuals and providing them with an opportunity in the field of their competence. The competent authorities set the means for their discovery, their study programs, and the benefits that encourage them, such as Mawhiba program offered by King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity. It also provides the talented individuals with the means of scientific research to taking advantage of their capabilities.

Lifelong Learning Initiative (Estidama)

It is a development initiative that provides the necessary life skills and enhances the values of lifelong learning. It also empowers young people of both genders by providing them with various educational and training opportunities.

University Exchange

The university Exchange is an opportunity that aims to enhance international cooperation in the field of higher education, develop capabilities, gain knowledge, exchange benefits and strengthen international relations between universities. Through this opportunity, the participant can benefit from the innovative programs available in other countries.

Summer Program

It targets students over the age of 17 and aims to provide them with the basic skills that benefit them during their vacation.

Saudi Digital Library

It is a vast digital library that includes various specializations to support the educational process and meet the needs of beneficiaries in higher education institutions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It contains more than 680 thousand e-books in various fields.

Research Centers

Saudi Arabia is focusing on scientific research because it aims to move away from dependence on oil and shift toward knowledge-based economy. It seeks to be among the top 10 countries in the Global Competitiveness Index In line with Vision 2030. There are huge scientific institutions in Saudi Arabia, Such as King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, and other Saudi research institutions. Most universities have also established scientific and technical research centers in sectors of interest to Saudi Arabia.

Educational Programs in Prisons

Recognizing the important role of education in reforming and ensuring that prisoners continue their studies while serving their prison sentence, Article (18) of the prison and detention system stipulates that the Ministry of Interior, in agreement with the competent authorities responsible for education and awareness, develop the education curriculum and classification for prisons and detention centers, and prescribe the executive regulations for the examination for prisoners.

The Education Department in each region nominates a number of qualified staff with competence and experience in the following disciplines (reform education - psychology - social service - social sciences) and they are carefully being selected to organize seminars and lectures for prisoners in each region in religious, health, psychological and social sciences. The Department of Student Guidance and Counseling is coordinating with prisons in the region by preparing a general plan that includes the programs and topics for those seminars and lectures, and their timetables.


Important links

Relevant Agencies

Last Modified Date: 04/05/2021 - 11:46 AM Saudi Arabia Time
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