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Background Educational System in Saudi Arabia

The objectives of the Saudi educational policy are to ensure that education becomes more efficient, to meet the religious, economic and social needs of the country and to eradicate illiteracy among Saudi adults. There are several government agencies involved with planning, administrating and implementing the overall governmental educational policy in Saudi Arabia.

The Ministry of Education sets overall standards for the country's educational system (public and private) and also oversees special education for the handicapped. Early in 2003 the General Presidency for Girls' Education was dissolved and its functions taken over by the Ministry, to administer the girls' schools and colleges, supervise kindergartens and nursery schools and sponsor literacy programs for females.

The General Organization for Technical Education and Vocational Training (GOTEVT) was established in 1980 to coordinate and implement the kingdom's manpower development plans and supervise all related training centers and institutes.

The Ministry of Higher Education was established in 1975 to implement the Kingdom's higher education policy in the rapidly expanding sphere of post-secondary education. Prior to 1975, higher education was under the supervision and administration of the Ministry of Education.

Among the various responsibilities of the Ministry of Higher Education are:

  • It provides support and services for the kingdom's universities and colleges.
  • It is responsible for the supervision, coordination and follow-up of post- secondary programs and the connection with the national development programs in different fields; it also provides the various sectors with the necessary technical and administrative manpower.
  • It also supervises scholarships of Saudi students studying abroad, coordinates international inter-university relations and oversees the educational and cultural mission offices in different countries.