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Saudi Arabia Education System Term Paper


Education is an integral component of social development and economic growth. The prosperity of a state depends significantly on the level of knowledge for its citizens, such that well-educated nationals are able to boost their country’s human capital and contribute to overall state development. In this regard, the education system in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) seeks to offer individualized and quality training for its learners, develop a modern framework for information communication and technology, and improve the efficiency of Islamic education in the country. The ministry of education identifies academic excellence as a key approach to achieving professional development among its citizens and preparing them for an active role in national building. The country’s system of education operates under the primary, secondary, and college levels, with clear goals and visions to foster quality learning, and inculcates the government and Islamic institutions, which develop teachings and religious curricula based on the national and global social-cultural, economic, and political dimensions.

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Overview of the System of Education
The education system in Saudi Arabia is administered by three major agencies, which are the ministry of university and tertiary learning, the national department of education, and the general organization for vocational training and technical skills. The government offers academic competencies to the entire population under five levels of learning, which are pre-primary, primary, intermediate, secondary, and college, although the duration of knowledge acquisition differs across the categories (Rabaah, Doaa, & Asma, 2016). The secondary training lasts for a pre-determined period, mainly three years, although the parents may choose to take their kids through smaller levels, such as pre-school and kindergarten, at their costs, as the mandatory class attendance begins at the age of six years. Normally, a school calendar runs from September to June. All these phases are synchronized with the nation’s religion schedules to guarantee quality education as aligned by the cultural requirements.

Saudi Arabia’s education ministry regards academic excellence as a critical factor in the growth and development of its economy and ensures the systems adopted by various learning entities reflect the national revolution agenda and achieve the expected training goals. In line with the country’s vision 2030, several educational reforms have been initiated to enhance the standards of teaching and produce highly qualified learners. The government understands that successful realization of the goals hinges on the quality of academic skills delivered; consequently, a transformation program has been developed to improve the teaching system through a process of academic modernization. Besides, the education ministry has increased the budget allocated to schools and tertiary institutions to promote the acquisition of the necessary facilities needed to execute this strategy (Pennington, 2017). In this regard, it conducts periodic reviews of its current training plans to foster intensive modifications and ensure the knowledge offered meets the global labour market demand.

Ministry of Education its Goals and Mission
Over the past decades, the traditional system of education in Saudi Arabia has placed the country at a lower scale on the international ranking. The kingdom has faced a real problem of matching with the advanced nations in terms of intellectual growth, thereby prompting the need to create significant educational reforms. The ministry of education has played a great role in ensuring the country’s system of academic knowledge responds to changes in social and economic developments. To achieve this objective, the institution has undertaken constant reconstructions of its committees to foster research, testing, and evaluation of the capacity of the current curriculum to meet the global standards (Pariona, 2017). The outcomes of the studies and assessments conducted by different teaching entities are used to guide policymakers in determining the ministry’s mission and creating new goals to reflect the proposed developments. For example, one of the learning institutions’ targets in KSA is to foster educational curricula, which must be balanced and flexible to meet the demands of the national advancement plans, expectations of the labour markets, and need of the learners. The agency analyzes and reviews the learning structure to assess the key elements of quality education system in terms of relevance and alignment with international requirements.

Structure of the Education System
The five levels of education seek to achieve specific standards and guidelines for its students’ curriculum. At the primary level, educators inculcate the sense of Islamic national pride among learners and develop physical skills as well as mathematics and language competencies (Rabaah et al., 2016). Besides, teachers provide a foundation for scientific rules and guide students to use their free time participating in different religious activities and reading about social values. At the secondary school level, learners can choose to pursue courses related to general education or specialize in vocational training. This system is designed to take three years, after which the students graduate, thereby marking the end of basic learning (Rabaah et al., 2016). Notably, the newly proposed changes in the education system involve separation by sex, in which both boys and girls sit for the same exams and follow common secondary syllabus, but the former undergo further training that involves traditional Islamic tutoring (Pariona, 2017). The main objective of sharing the syllabus is to enhance the uniformity of teachings and foster gender equality in access to education.

The regular secondary school education is religion and social-economic oriented while aiming to prepare learners for developing academic practices and positive scientific attitude as well as allowing them to meet expectations of higher learning. This form of training lasts for three years, and the majority of students who graduate are aged between 15 and 18 years (Rabaah et al., 2016). Besides, the secondary teaching system is designed to allow learners to specialize in three major disciplines, which are agriculture, industry, and commerce. Older students and those in the employment sector have also been offered an opportunity to gain academic skills (Pariona, 2017). Moreover, the system is flexible to allow individuals to take final examinations without attending classes. Public secondary schools have great enrollment, as education is fully sponsored by the government.

Role of Government in Education
The ministry of education in the country plays a vital role in the provision and administration of learning system as well as the development of national curriculum; it collaborates with various government agencies at regional, local, and state levels to achieve its mission. Officials working in this institution concentrate on oversight, planning of curriculum, and execution of public awareness projects and programs. Besides, they create policies for the effective administration of rules at various departments to ensure the government’s plans are achieved (Pariona, 2017). Furthermore, the ministry is charged with the responsibility of supporting universities and colleges in the country by providing scholarship and other support services.

Education for Girls
Gender discrimination in education is a critical factor in a large number of countries, especially in the Middle East, where the patriarchal systems do not appreciate the need to educate girls. However, due to increased international awareness and changes in cultural and social structures, the need to offer academic knowledge to the female gender has gained significant emphasis. In Saudi Arabia, the ministry of education under the General Presidency for Girl’s Education traditionally oversaw provision of learning skills to girls (Rabaah et al., 2016). In this regard, a female-oriented agency has been created to oversee girl child education and ensure it promotes equality in access to quality skills, Islamic teachings, and conservative values, as well as ensuring both sexes have equal chances for professional development. However, the government decided to disband this institution, and the ministry of education was left in charge of the overall teaching system.

Role of Religion in Education
As noted, the design of the education system in Saudi Arabia is such that boys are provided with additional skills, which involves Islamic teachings as guided by the Sharia laws. Ideally, incorporating this religious component entails creating a specialized learning curriculum for boys who must be trained for clerical duties (Rabaah et al., 2016). These religious teachings help to inculcate unique religious values among the male students and begin in secondary schools, when classes for both Arabic and Islamic studies are covered. Besides, the special syllabus encourages learners to become religious leaders acquainted with Islamic cultural traditions and practices. Moreover, students are encouraged to spend their spare time participating in different religious activities and reading historical archives to intensify their understanding of Islamic origin. The Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic and Islamic University of Medina are the leading institutions charged with the responsibility of coordinating this specialized curriculum for boys in the country (Pariona, 2017). Thus, the state’s education system is significantly influenced by religion at all levels to ensure Islamic teachings are instilled into learners.

Goals that Education System Seeks to Achieve
Every education system is designed to achieve specific objectives, which must be inculcated into the policies of education management to facilitate their realization. The ministry of education has developed a ten-year plan outlining the goals to be achieved by the public learning curriculum in the country. The strategy covers various aspects of educational development, which includes the methods to offer appropriate knowledge and competencies across different groups. This approach aims to instill a sense of national pride among learners and incorporate key social, economic, political, and religious issues into the syllabus. Besides, great emphasis is put on science and mathematics areas to prepare learners for global positions and support their capacity to engage in scientific research. Since the country’s education system is based on Islamic beliefs, the implementation of this initiative will result in improved training of religious teachers for effective execution of their roles (Pariona, 2017). Ultimately, the plan eliminates illiteracy, increase the level of participation of the community in education, and respond to the social and religious needs of the general population.

The education system in Saudi Arabia has undergone a significant transformation to align the quality of training with international standards. The government has realized the need to modify the goals of its providing academic competencies and programs to capture its objectives as stipulated in the country’s vision 2030. However, the system of education in this state is distinguishable from other countries due to the provision of a special curriculum, in which religious teachings are highly specialized to promote moral values.

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Rabaah, A., Doaa, D., & Asma, A. (2016). Early childhood education in Saudi Arabia: Report. World Journal of Education, 6(5), 1-8. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1158243.pdf
Pariona, A. (2017, August 1). What type of education system does Saudi Arabia have? Retrieved from https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-type-of-education-system-does-saudi-arabia-have.html
Pennington, R. (2017, December 11). Saudi plans major overhaul to poorly performing education system. Retrieved from https://www.thenational.ae/uae/saudi-plans-major-overhaul-to-poorly-performing-education-system-1.683557

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