The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is witnessing an overall educational boom which is represented in eight universities whose campuses, regulations, and scientific equipment match those in the most advanced universities in the world. This boom is also manifested in thousands of elementary, preparatory and secondary schools for boys and girls in addition to the specialized institutes and colleges in the various branches of science and schools for old people and kindergartens.

 

  This boom is the fruit of the continuous efforts started by King Abdel Aziz, the founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, since the early years of the Kingdom and have been looked after by his sons after him (Kings of the Kingdom). The maximum development has been achieved during the period of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd Ibn Abdel Aziz, who has given special care to education since the time he was the first Minister of Education in the Kingdom’s history when this Ministry was established in 1953 G. The Kingdom has achieved quick leaps in the education. The following figures sum up the educational achievementsfroml970Gto 1999G:

 
  • The total number of schools for all stages has increased from (3283) schools to more than 23,000 schools. During this period, the educational organizations have increased about 7 times.

 
  • Those joining the educational organizations have increased from 600,000 students to 4.7 millions students (boys & girls). The number has increased 8 times.

 
  • The number of students in higher education has increased from 8000 to more than 360,000 (boys & girls).

 
  • The number of students in technical schools and institutes has increased from 840 to more than 38,000.

 
  • The number of students in vocational training centers has increased from 578 to around 10,000. During the same period the average opening of schools is as follows:.

         One elementary school every day.
         One preparatory school every two days.
         One secondary school every five days.

 

  Since 1970 the government has prioritized the development of human resources and manpower training as one of its main targets for the five year development plans. During the sixth 5 year plan covering the period from 1995 G to 2000 G, the total amount allocated for education was 183.4 billion Saudi riyals i.e. 21.5 % of the amount approved for this plan. In this fiscal year 1420 - 1421 (2000 0), the budget for education and manpower training is more than (49) billion Saudi Riyals, i.e. 26% of the general budget of the Kingdom.

 

  The number of boy schools being supervised by the Ministry of Education in 1419 H (1998 G) is (12,323) schools accommodating a total of (2,171,010) students and (157,138) teachers, while the number of girl schools under the supervision of the General Presidency for Girls’ Education is (13,598) schools accommodating (2,223,382) students and (200,303) teachers. Official statistics indicate that the eight universities of the Kingdom in addition to teacher colleges, Health Colleges and other colleges include (250) colleges accommodating more than (360000) students (boys and girls) in the bachelor stage only and around (17000) teaching staff members. The number of educational units belonging to the General Organization for Technical Education and Vocational Training is around (76) units, such as technical colleges, Industrial Secondary Institutes, Commercial Secondary Institutes, Agricultural Secondary Institutes, Technical Inspector Institutes, in addition to the Trainers’ Preparation Institute and Aids Center. All of there technical and vocational schools accommodate more than (38000) students. There are as well vocational training centers (30 centers), which work two shifts, morning and evening classes, and accommodate around (10,000) trainees in various crafts.

 

  The General Organization for Technical Education and Vocational Training supervises the private sector training centers (more than 300) Institutes as well as training centers accommodating more than 18000 students. As an extension of the state’s care for special education, 118 Institutes have been built for boys and 25 for girls to look after the handicapped (blind, deaf, dump and retarded) to prepare and qualify them to use their remaining senses in order to be active members of in society. Whereas the boy Institutes belonging to the Ministry of Education accommodate around (7600) students with more than (1834) teachers, the girl institutes belonging to the General Presidency for Girls’ Education accommodate around (3400) students with 1980 teachers.

 

  In addition to free education in all government schools, the state grants financial allowances for students (boys and girls) in some educational levels, which reach to one thousand riyals monthly in some colleges, technical colleges and specialized institutes, in addition to health care, housing, food and transportation in many cases. Beside the state’s educational organizations, the private sector runs and operates many schools in various stages starting from kindergartens to the secondary level. The Ministry of Education and the General Presidency for Girls’ Education supervise these schools, support them and provide them with school curricula, syllabi and educational aid.

 
 
 

  The spread of education in various stages and levels and the efforts exerted by the state through the evening schools for the elimination of illiteracy and for the increase in teaching facilities have had clear effects in reducing illiteracy among men and women. The number of this type of schools under the supervision of the Ministry of Education in the school year 1419 H - 1420 H (1999) is (1155) schools accommodating (35168) students, while the number of schools under the supervision of the General Presidency for Girls Education is (2107) schools accommodating (74648) students. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been congratulated by international and regional organizations which granted it four awards in appreciation for the country’s efforts in eliminating social and Job illiteracy. In 1996 the Kingdom represented by the Culture and Education Department of the Ministry of Defense and Aviation got an award from UNESCO. The Kingdom represented by the Secretariat General for adult learning through the Ministry of Education got a prize from the Arab Organization for Education, Culture and Science for eliminating the social and job illiteracy. In 1998 Kingdom represented by the General Presidency for Girls’ Education got a NOMA prize which is granted by UNESCO. In 1999 the Kingdom represented by the National Guard Deputy-Ship for Cultural and Educational Affairs got the International Council for Adult Learning prize which is granted by the International Council for adult learning in Canada.

 

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