Historical project

EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT IN SAUDI ARABIA
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By: Dr. Saleh AL-Abdulkareem

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EDUCATION DEVELPOMENT IN SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi Arabia: Overview
Saudi Arabia is a young country, till 1950s this country was without resources, people are living in mud houses without any kind of new technologies, and life is simple as it in the past centuries. After discovering oil this life changed suddenly within few years only. A massive improvement any were in this country, social, health, education, transpiration and other fields. This sudden movement toward the feature affects people’s life in different ways, mainly those that are willing to the feature and those who have nostalgia to the past. The situation also creates new gap between parents and new generation. King AbdulAziz Ibn Saud united 80% of the Arabian Peninsula during the 1920s and 1930s, and in 1932 he issued a royal proclamation for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is approximately 2,240,000 square kilometers in area and the capital city is Riyadh, most of the land deserts. Saudi Arabia is the country where Islam originated and all Saudi citizens are Muslims. Islam means submission to the will of God. The language of the country is Arabic, English is spoken in major cities and it is the main language in medical circles. Saudi Arabia is bounded by eight countries: in the north with Iraq, Jordan, and Kuwait; in the east Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Sultanate of Oman; in the west the Red Sea, and to the south Yemen.

Saudi society structure:
The majority of Saudi’s live in villages, towns and big cities Nearly 10 percent still live as nomadic tribes. All citizens are ethnic Arabs, who share a common religion, which is Islam. “The typical Saudi Arab is a proud individual, confidant of his own values and culture.

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In addition, he is reasonable and relatively unemotional in thought and act.” (Abdul-Al, 1994, p23) In Saudi “some cities and oases have population densities of more than 2,600 people per square mile” (Alghanem, 1998, 28). According to the 1992 census, the population of Saudi Arabia was estimated to be about 16.9 million, including about 4.6 million resident foreigners. “Until the 1960s, most of the population was nomadic or semi-nomadic; due to rapid economic and urban growth; more than 95 percent of the population now is settled” (Alghanem, 1998, 28). The people of Saudi Arabia has changed a lot, for the following reasons: 1. The founder of the new State , the late King Ibn Suad, has formed permanent settlements at developed water holes, in an attempt to add stability to the tribesmen by changing their nomadic method of life to agricultural pursuits. 2. The progress and advancement of the petroleum industry, which attracted large numbers of the tribesmen to urban life in the cities which has been established by the oil industry. In addition, the economy of the petroleum industry has brought several large urban centers into being in the eastern province. 3. The process of social change has continued at a rapid race despite the thought that there was much opposition by the traditionalists of Saudi Arabian society. According to 1965 population estimates, the division of the Saudi citizens was as follows: I. 66 % nomadic people. II. 12 % settled cultivators. III. 22 % urban dwellers. This percentage has changed, and improved a lot, recently. In the past, the bedouins accustomed to move from one place to another in a planned and deliberate pattern to take

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and becoming more integrated into the urban society. they are making a substantial contribution to Saudi Arabia economy. 4 . and the family is the fundamental and essential repository of every individual's personal identity. The Saudi family is of an extended type. Although there are some variations in the family structure as it exists among the nomadic Arabs and cities.advantage of the rain-filled wells. sheep and goats. Nowadays. Allegiance to Islam. the percentage of bedouins has decreased from 66% to 10% while the other two types increased. Regarding this change. due to many factors especially. their unmarried sons and daughters. The social relations in Saudi Arabia are indirectly tied to family considerations. but the basic pattern is the same. Usually. Besides that. and producing a surplus of animal products for the settled individuals. and the differences are largely of degree. Although the basic loyalties of the great majority of the nation remained remarkably stable. the modern methods of water supplies. 1994) The Saudi family: The Saudi family does not differ much from the neighboring Arab States. the thought of Saudi Arabia as a land of nomads has changed too. (Abdul-Al. and any married sons with their wives and children Abdul-Al states that: “it is clear that. a husband and his wife. loyalty to family and loyalty to the tribe are the most and strongest bonds felt by the majority of Saudi citizens The tribal structure is still intact among the nomads. and in several of tile settled communities” (1994. because of the family and tribe are still the centers of the Saudi's life. p26). by supporting themselves. bedouin families are settling on the outskirts of towns and cities. three generations are represented in a household. the dominant relationship in the Saudi society are unique and personal. and pastures for their herds of camels. So.

but some parents may give something for the teacher (money or food). Some circles.Chapter one: Educational Situation in the Arabian Peninsula I. writing. especially those in which the Hadith (profit Mohammed sayings) was studied. only few of them was known before Islam. but teacher will not ask for any thing. Before Islam there were only few kuttabs in few cities. as a rule. the closer he was seated to the teacher. but the method of instruction usually emphasized lectures and memorization. Aged people usually have separate kuttabs. course content. Teachers were as a rule looked upon as masters of scholarship.2 Kuttab: Open for all people from different levels in the society in equity. seated on a dais or cushion with the pupils gathered in a semicircle before him. In kuttab kids memorize Qur’an and learn basic reading. so named because the teacher was. The mosque circles varied in approach. Students often made long journeys to join the circle of a great teacher.1 Halqah (Study circle): According to Britannica Encyclopedia each mosque usually contained several study circles (halqah). In general it is free. The main learning places in early era of Arabian Peninsula are: I. The more advanced a student. arithmetic and morals. and quality of teaching. Educational places in early era: In Islamic history there were number of learning places in Arabian Peninsula. were so large that it was necessary for assistants to repeat the lecture so that every student could hear and record it (Brittanica. 5 .com). size. I. and their lectures were meticulously recorded in notebooks.

7 Mosques (Masjed in Arabic): Besides prayers. 55) I.I.3 Palaces schools: Special classes for some wealthy families who wants special education for their kids. mosques was the court. and usually they chose good teachers to teach kids advance reading. I. till now there are number of halqahs in Saudi’s mosques. Britannica Encyclopedia stated that: “Their curricula were limited.6 Badiah (Rural or Bedouins places and life): This might be strange.” (Shalaby.4 Bookstores: It wasn’t places to sell and buy books. I. writing and morals.5 Scholars’ houses: Open for scholar’s students who want to continue with this scholar for long time. I. It is special classes held for gifted students besides the public classes in halqah. these schools could not meet the growing need for trained personnel or provide sufficient educational opportunities for those who wished to continue their studies”. but this places where people can learn Arabic language on strong bases. they could not always attract welltrained teachers. (Brittanica. meetings and early kuttabs and halqahs. conferences. In general we can say about these places that it was helpful in the past and can satisfy peoples’ needs in specific era. 1987. physical facilities were not always conducive to a congenial educational environment … Most importantly. This is the first place to learn for scholars and educators. so their language weakened.com) 6 . even though there are limitation in its educational ways. but it was also places for discussions and meetings between scholars and educators. “In cities people meet other people from different cultures and languages.

1 Ottoman Empire: end 1916 Ottoman Empire was a great country taking care of each part of it. so they engaged in schools from different ages. 580). except few who have good relations with Turk leaders”. Before the establishment of Saudi Arabia II. 292). He ordered to close all the schools and asked scholars to set new educational system. then they would engage in discussions about politics and other issues. They took care of the western region because the importance of Mecca and Maddinah in Islamic world. and ignore the rest of the peninsula except parts of east region which have oases and ports. Shareef Hussein discovered that education will lead people to be more knowledgeable in life. some of which equal with high schools or above. 1979. then he stopped any kind of Turk influences especially in education. even teaching Arabic language was in Turkish. They established schools in the wheaten regain but these schools became places to build supporters for them. At that time there were three schools in Hejas. (Alfozan. First they will find their identity. (Sebai. II. “People didn’t accept these schools and didn’t engage in it. then advance elementary school and finally high secondary school”. then they look froward to continue their education abroad. 1981. and they will not stop at specific point. “First Hussein stopped any kinds of scholarship or studying 7 . including Arabian Peninsula.II. but later this empire became harm for the area. He decides to kill his plan by himself to protect his position. And to make this dream they change schools’ languages from Arabic to be Turkish. Within one year “there was a great system starting from preparing school.2 Hashemy era: 1916 – 1924 Shareef Hussein Bin Ali led Arab revolution against Turk and Ottoman Empire. People were willing to be educating.

As I mentioned early. if so. Ibn Saud was proclaimed king of Saudi Arabia.3 Early Saudi: Until 1926 the Arabian Peninsula was divided into several parts. public education in the Arabian Peninsula was limited to elementary schools. but in general Kuttab is the place where kids learn in all the country. 1932. 8 . Formal and organized education in Saudi Arabia did not exist until 1948. in central region they call him “Mutawa`”. The traditional curriculum of the kuttab is mainly devoted to the memorization of the Qur'an and reading and writing Arabic. Characteristically. kuttab is a place where students can go and learn how to read and memorize the Muslim holy book. these schools were opened to boys only. In 1926. (Shalaby. Before that time there was a traditional educational system called "kuttab" in the Arabian Peninsula. Kuttab schools were located either in the mosque or in the teacher's house and most often the teacher was the Imam (the mosque leaders). Kuttabs have been open to girls at the lower levels. and seldom to teach by man. then he start delaying and decreasing teachers monthly payments till they lose their ardor”.abroad. he might be blind or old. and in south they call him “Fageeh”. During the earlier period of educational development. 1987. In eastern region of Arabian Peninsula people call the teacher “Mulla”. 67). This date marks the final unification of the country. the Qura`n. Some refer to this type of education as Kuttab schooling. which hardly warranted the name of school. in general ladies teach girls in heir houses. King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud became the king of the Hejaz and Sultan Nejd and Dependencies. Prior to the establishment of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On September 18. II.

p5). II. 1991. 2000. not only as supplemental aid for teaching but also to help subsidize curriculum and organize the Saudi educational system. p2). along with the Qur'an. 2000. he established the first formally organized educational center in 1925. a place called "the Directorate of Education. however. the Saudi Educational model was indirectly adopting the English educational system” (Alromi. foreign language. which were still ruled by the Ottoman Empire during the 19century. Due to the size of the country lack of financial resources. “It was not until after 1956 that greater than 5% of the population began to attain basic literacy”(Alromi. However. Keeping in mind that “the Egyptian educational model was following in the footsteps of the English educational model at that time. 10). with full understanding of the importance of education. Egyptian assistance was requested. 9 . p4). King Abdulaziz. The increasing number of students in the schools forced the General Directorate of Education to announce new regulations. and Arabic reading” (Al Salloom. simple mathematics. which eventually led the Directorate to control all of the educational affairs in Saudi Arabia (Alromi.Kuttab schools were located on most of the Arabian Peninsula with the exception of the western and eastern parts. illiteracy was widespread in most of the Arabian Peninsula. therefore." The Directorate of Education was at that time under the Ministry of the Interior because there were not enough qualified and educated people to establish a special department. 2000.4 The Educational System in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia On the opposite of Hashemy era. At that time. in 1925 formal school operated by the government replaced Kuttab schools. “Curriculum in Kuttab schools located in these two provinces included.

10 . facing many obstacles. with a total enrollment of 21.According to Alromi. The demand for education increased as the wealth of the nation grew. The number of elementary schools reached 182 in 1949. The first government school in Saudi Arabia was established in 1925. but it was not until 1939 that those schools became what could now be considered as full-fledged elementary schools.409 pupils. stood alone as an advanced bastion of education for a decade. This modest school. At that time in the entire kingdom of Saudi Arabia only 2. several more public schools were begun.319 pupils were enrolled in schools. In 1936. Even though the school and student enrollment increased from the year 1930 until the beginning of 1950. the percentage of illiteracy in Saudi Arabia at that time remained high.

Therefore. 2000. At the beginning of the educational system and because of teacher demands. in 1928 the Saudi Directorate of Education established the first Saudi Teacher Institution to meet the increasing need for teachers in schools. (because of the education situation at that time) they might did not have any certificates but could read and write or had just completed their elementary school. “The first scholarship to study abroad was in 1929. Saudi adapts educational systems from other countries. “After the resignation of Saleh Shatta (1925-1926). Egyptian assistance was requested through three pathways: (1) through the Ministry of Education in Egypt. and (3) through personal contracts. An unqualified teacher mean that. the Saudi government called Mohammad AI-Gussab from Syria to be the General Manager of Saudi education (Alromi. 77). the highest degree that could be attained was a high school diploma from some Arab countries. because of the shortage of Saudi teachers. A report from the Saudi Ministry of Education asserted that "most of the Arab teachers [who teach in Saudi] hold a secondary school graduate certification" (Cultural Mission. The Syrian and Egyptian education influence on Saudi education started with the establishment of the Directorate of Education in 1925. Egypt and Lebanon. Moreover. at that time there were a good educational situation in Syria. At this time. it was a 11 .Chapter two: Educational Influences on Saudi Arabian System I. (2) through the General Directorate of the Al-Azhar Institution. 1995. Lack of competence: As it in any new grown country. most of the teachers were not qualified. p7). which is an Islamic institution in Egypt.

S. Switzerland and according to Shalaby (1987. Then "the first curriculum implemented in the Saudi era was in 1925. who graduated from the United States was installed. along with those who worked in the Ministry of Education as educational planners. Lebanon. Dr. 1987. For instance. Then in different years number of students sent to Egypt. It is noteworthy that the Egyptian educational system has been influenced by the British educational system because the British colonized Egypt. 220). Al-Guaitir was the fourth Minister of the Ministry of Education and was not replaced until 1995 when the new minister. in 1960 from Egypt. “there was no national curriculum at the beginning of the King Abdulaziz era. but the Egyptian influence was more visible and obvious for several reasons. In 1951 there were 169 students studying in Egypt to become Saudi teachers” (Shalaby. Second. Germany. Abdulaziz Al-Guaitir is the first Saudi citizen who got a Ph. most of the teachers before and after establishing the Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia were from Egypt.group of 14 students sent to Egypt” (Shalaby. In 1935 King Adbulaziz decided to send Saudi students to study in Egypt. and administrators. Furthermore. Mohammed Alrasheed. curriculum planners and creators. and was created by Mohammed Al-Gussab who was Syrian” (Alromi. 223) in 1951 a group of 19 students sent to the U. students with scholarships from the government were sent to Egypt. Dr. 220). It is clear that at the beginning of the Saudi educational system there were influences from both the Syrians and Egyptians. p8). The curriculum planning has since been changed twice in 1932 and 1935-and the main change was the focus especially on the religious and Arabic language curriculum and by adding health and moral curriculum. First. 2000. "Britain controlled in varying 12 . 1987.D.

Implementing vocational education to improve the Saudis human capital. Some of these factors included the recognized need for building and developing the country's human resources. economic.degree Egypt's political. intermediate. In addition this high number of illiterate or any other major factors caused the Saudi government to awaken and make education one of its most important goals. the Saudi government started giving more attention to the educational system. Therefore. and use it as a means for school to work transition is considered to be a British influence through Egyptian education. modernizing the country and modernizing the economy-all of which required skilled persons in order to accomplish. King Abdulaziz appointed one of his sons to be the first Minister of Education. The Establishment of the Ministry of Education According to the UNESCO estimation in 1950. and also gave monthly allowances to students who came 13 . In order to encourage students all over the country to enroll and attend the schools. the government made education free. a new era in the educational system started in 1953. When the General Directorate became the Ministry of Education. 65). King Fahad guided the educational revolution in Saudi Arabia. Therefore. From the time that he was appointed to be the Minister. 2000. for example. II. and educational development for nearly three quarters of a century" (Alromi. p9). Prince Fahad (later King Fahad) (Al Sunbol et all. we can say that the Saudi education system was influenced indirectly by the British system through the use of Egyptian education ideas and people. Because of the importance of education. 1998. it become fully responsible for the primary. more than 90% of the Saudi Arabian population was illiterate. and secondary male educational system. and with his support.

14 . Public education in Saudi Arabia. this organization also controls female colleges of education and the number of junior-teacher training colleges. the education of girls was almost unheard of except within the family. intermediate. the education attainment in Saudi Arabia has been expanding at a rapid rate. In addition. and secondary.from needy families. both for boys and girls. Girls' education is separate from boys' in all levels of education in Saudi Arabia. transportation and textbooks were provided to all of the students for free. is divided into three levels: elementary. the government established the presidency of Girls' Education as a separate and independent organization to control and supervise the education of girls at all three levels of education. (Alromi. Consequently. Also. At the level of higher education living accommodations for all of the students was free and the government granted monthly allowances-around $250 per month-for all of the university students. and is divided into educational provinces all over the country. For those who are not familiar with the Saudi educational system. there is optional kindergarten level. p10) Until 1960. 2000. At this time. it must be understood that girls' education in separate institutions is mainly an issue related to the separate social status given to women by Islam". The Ministry of Education is presently considered the largest centralized educational agency in Saudi Arabia. this kind of information would raise the question of "why?" To answer this question Al Salloom (1991) stated.

Saudi Arabia Educational Policy The Saudi educational policy (1980) stated that Saudi education should emphasize the flowing: 15 . Additionally. This is largely due to the fact that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's political. On the other hand. the more developed a society. The Islamic religion has affected the Saudi educational system and. beliefs and ideology of its members. the educational purpose for any group of people or society most often reflects their cultural norms and way of living. the main educational purpose of the Saudi education system is a continuation of its Islamic educational heritage. has greatly affected the curriculum on all educational levels for both boys and girls. Al Salloom (1991. social and economic rules are based on the fundamentals of Islam. Therefore. in particular. "Islam is not only integral to Saudi education but also serves as the very essence of the curriculum" II. p9) stated. In a like manner.Chapter three: Purpose of Education in Saudi Arabia I. an overwhelming excess of more than 90 percent at that time. the purposes and goals of education in any country represent the cultural values. Society characters: The purpose of education in general is to satisfy the needs of the society. one which arose at the beginning of the rule of King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud-that of reducing the illiteracy of the Saudi citizenry. There is also another important educational purpose. the more the needs of that same society become changeable and the more complex are the country's educational purposes. Saudi educational objectives represent a continuation of the Islamic principles.

and in Mohammad (Peace be Upon Him) as Prophet and Messenger of God. Reinforce that it is the duty of each Muslim to seek education and the duty of the state to provide education in its various stages within the state's capacity and resources. intermediary. 3. 8. Incorporate religious education as a basic element in all the primary. 4. 7. 2. Islamic concept of the universe. Engender faith in human dignity as decreed by the Holy Qur'an and that each Muslim is entrusted with the task of fulfilling God's wishes on earth. 16 . man and life. and secondary stages of education and maintain Islamic culture as a basic right in all the years of higher education. Foster a holistic. Emphasize that life is a stage of work and production during which the Muslim invests his capacities with a full understanding of and faith in the eternal life in the other world. Strengthen faith in God and Islam. such that the entire world is subjected to the laws of God in fulfilling its duty without any interruption or confusion. 5. Instill the Islamic ideals of a humane. Today is work without judgment and tomorrow is judgment without work. 6.Part 1: 1. prudent and constructive civilization guided by the message of Mohammad (Peace be Upon Him) to realize glory on earth and happiness in the other world. Proclaim that the message of Mohammad (Peace be Upon Him) ensures happiness to man and rescues humanity from all the corruption.

Teach respect for the general rights guaranteed by Islam in order to maintain law and order and achieve stability for the Muslim community in its religion. and lean from the lives of our ancestors using their experience as a guiding light for our present and future. family. 16. fraternity and through placing public interest over private interest. 13. 10. Integrate Islamic orientation in sciences and knowledge in all their forms. 15. the preservation of the heritage of the Islamic religion.9. soul. Foster absolute faith in the fundamentals of the Islamic nation and its unity regardless of race. writing and teaching so that they would fall in harmony with sound Islamic thinking. Promote Islamic solidarity and strengthen cooperation among Islamic peoples in order to protect them against all dangers. 17 . mind and property. 11. love. Advocate social solidarity among the members of the Muslim community through cooperation. 12. color and geographical distance. b) defender of the land in which inspiration descended on Prophet Mohammad (Peace be Upon Him). 14. Enlighten the world to the belief that God has bestowed a special responsibility on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as: a) guardian of Islam's Sacred Places. Stimulate the use of human knowledge in the light of Islam to raise the standard of living of our country and nation and to fulfill our role in world cultural progress. curricula. honor. items. Teach the importance of our national history.

is the duty of the state and its citizens. broadening the horizons of students by introducing them to the different parts of the world and the natural resources and products that characterize each country. with prudence and persuasion. Encouraging and promoting the spirit of scientific thinking and research. 2. Part 2: The most distinct objectives of Islam in attaining the purpose of education. character. 3. and enlightening the student about God's miracles in the world and God's wisdom in His creatures. constitution and way of life. Promoting the spirit of loyalty to Islamic law by denouncing any system or theory that conflicts with this law and by honest action and behavior in conformity with the general provisions of this law. worship. 6). which are stated in the Saudi educational policy are the following: 1. and Islamic thought meets all the human needs in their highest forms and in all ages. Understanding the environment in all forms. thus enabling the individual to fulfill an active role in building a social life and in steering it toward the right direction. and d) in its responsibility of spreading the word and wisdom of Islam throughout humanity. 17. strengthening the faculties of observation and meditation. Demonstrating the full harmony between science and religion in the Islamic law. emphasizing the wealth and raw resources of our country. law. and bodybecause a strong faith is closer to God's heart than a weak faith (p. 18.c) in her adoption of Islam as creed. Pronounce that the preaching of Islam throughout the world. as Islam is a combination of religion and secularism. 4. their 18 . Inspire strength in its most sublime form-strength of faith.

construction work and farms. helping the individual to grow spiritually. Forming scientific skills and attending to applied sciences in school to give the student the chance to practice handicraft activities. 6. commending it in all its forms. This is done by: a. and economic position. participate in production. Training the necessary manpower and diversifying education with special attention to vocational training. and working for the solidarity of the Islamic world. calling people to accept it. urging individuals to excel in their work and to emphasize its role in the construction of the nation. and participate in the spreading of Islam and serving humanity. Furnishing the students with at least one of the living languages. 8. Studying individual differences among students so as to properly orient them and assist them to grow in-line with their abilities. 19 .geographical location. transmit our knowledge and sciences to other communities. mentally. Planting the zeal of work in the hearts of students. arts and useful inventions. to enable them to acquire knowledge. Accepting a leadership role in safeguarding Islam. in addition to their original language. emotionally. 5. Caring for academically retarded students and eliminating as many of their handicaps as possible and setting up special permanent and provisional programs to fit their needs. 7. 9. 10. and socially in a well-rounded way. and acquire experience in laboratories. capabilities and inclinations. and emphasizing Islamic spirituality so that it will be the main guideline of private and public behavior for the individual and the society. Keeping pace with the characteristics of each phase of the psychological growth of young people.

Studying the scientific principles of various activities so that the level of mechanical production will attain progress and invention. Awakening the spirit of Islamic struggle to fight ignorance and poverty. 20 . Establishing the strong relations that exist among Muslims and protect the unity of the Muslim Nation (p. 12. 10). resume its glory and fulfill the mission of Islam. 11.b.

Before the new school year starts. students start at the age of six.Chapter four: The Structure and Curriculum of Public Education Public education consists of three levels: elementary.. he needs to repeat the grade. Elementary education: Elementary education consists of six grades. the length of each class is 45 minutes. geography. which are fifteen weeks long. (Al Sunbul et al. if the student fails again. 1998. instead of Physical Education they have Feminine Education. I. 152) 9 8 2 3 5 1 2 31 9 8 2 3 5 1 2 31 21 .1 Elementary School Curriculum: Hours Per Week Subjects First Grade Second Grade Third Grade Fourth Grade Fifth Grade Sixth Grade Islamic Studies 9 9 9 9 Arabic Studies 12 9 9 9 Social Studies 0 0 0 2 Science 1 2 2 2 Mathematics 2 4 4 5 Art Education 2 2 2 1 Physical Education 2 2 2 2 Total Hours 28 28 28 31 For girls. I. students who fail need to take another test in the subject that was failed. Classes per week vary from 28 to 33 students per class. mathematics. However. intermediate. The school year at all three levels consists of two semesters. and secondary. Elementary education focuses mainly on Islamic religion and the Arabic language. Passing the exam at the end of the school year is essential for moving either from grade to grade or from level to level. history. and science is of secondary concern.

Secondary Education Prior to 1937. 1998. Consequently.. The age of the intermediate student is between 12 and 15 years old. Subjects (Al Sunbul et al. Students in the intermediate level study. students can select one of three options: (1) regular secondary school. but most Saudi education scholars assert that the real beginning of secondary education coincides with the development of the Foreign Mission preparatory school in 1937. there was no secondary-level education in Saudi Arabia. the curricula were similar to the Egyptian curricula and 22 . instead of Physical Education they have Feminine Education. Intermediate education: Passing the sixth grade examinations is important to enter the intermediate level. II.II. with completion of the third year of the intermediate level and passing the examination. besides Islamic and Arabic language courses. The initial purpose of this school was to prepare Saudi students for higher education in Egyptian universities. (3) Qur'anic schools. The first high school was the Saudi Institution opened in 1926. Finally. 198) Third Grade 8 6 4 4 4 2 1 2 2 33 III. (2) vocational education. more general education courses.1 Intermediate School Curriculum Hours Per Week First Grade Second Grade Islamic Studies 8 8 Arabic Studies 6 6 English 4 4 Science 4 4 Mathematics 4 4 Art Education 2 2 Physical Education 1 1 History 2 2 Geography 2 2 Total Hours (Boys) 33 33 For girls.

In its infancy. and emphasize religious learning.. 23 . primarily advocated this reform. 19). Thus. largely because of rapid changes in the nation's socioeconomic circumstances. the Saudi education system according to AI-Zaid (1990) was charged with three general purposes: 1. The Foreign Mission school program began as a threeyear commitment. which was also influenced by the American education system. 2. These goals and the structure of the education system in general-and secondary education in particular-have since changed as Saudi Arabia's economic growth has continued.To provide basic education for all Saudis. 17. especially Egypt. and 3. the Saudi Supreme Committee of Education embarked on a large-scale expansion of the Saudi education system.To teach students basic Islamic principles. to a five-year program (Al Sunbul et al. 1998. 1990. The initial goals of the Ministry's education system were to provide fundamental education for the largest number of Saudi students. but. With the increasing criticism of the old education system. as a consequence of integrating intermediate and secondary school system. in 1944 educational planners changed it.most of the teachers were from Egypt. secondary education resumed being a three-year program. Other Arab countries. Al Zaid. The curriculum has also been expanded several times.To prepare students for work in different fields. Because of economic development in the oil sector in 1950s and 1960s-which led to dramatic industrial and commercial growth in Saudi Arabia-the need for an immediate reform of the secondary education system and more secondary schools became clear. call for immediate reform was necessary. In 1958.

the Ministry of Education established the first comprehensive secondary school in 1975. Then. in 1977 and 1978. there are now three types of secondary education available in Saudi Arabia: (1) Qur'anic school.To respond to these goals. as an experimental modern high school in the city of Riyadh. run by Imam Mohammed bin Saud Islamic University and the Islamic University. As a result. The general high school curriculum has been changed several times. According to Al Sunbul et al. as educational policymakers and curriculum planners have determined that the curriculum did not meet individuals' and national needs. (1998. Although all educational levels in Saudi concentrate on teaching Islamic principles. they opened three more schools in other cities round the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. each student specializes in either liberal arts or science for the next two years. Alternatively. The first Qur'anic high school opened in 1977. Qur'anic School offers specific concentration on Islamic studies to prepare students for a specialty in Islamic law. These Qur'anic secondary schools replace the science requirements found in the regular secondary curriculum with religious subjects (p. the Ministry of Education developed five-year progress plans to enhance the Saudi education system by building new schools as well as improving the existing schools. (2) general (academic) school. students in general high school follow a general curriculum in the first year. 186) the intent in establishing these schools was: 24 . offer an alternative to male students who wish to emphasize Islamic and Arabic studies. Al Salloom (1991) describes this kind of school. Accordingly. and (3) vocational (professional) school. Secondary religious institutions. Then.43).

and 23 hours of electives (p. commercial and religious studies). To prepare students for real life by affording them with the knowledge and skills they need for employment. 2. 4.1. as well as developing a high school structure which allows students to experience different activities. physics and mathematics) or literary curricula (general studies. 3. believes that this kind of school will better meet the students' needs by allowing them to choose the courses that correspond to their interests. 25 . and To offer students access to an academic adviser to guide and help them during their studies. Al Salloom (1991) describes this program: The modern secondary program offered broad choices of subjects and courses that permitted students to tailor programs to suit their future goals. the initial comprehensive secondary education program was eventually replaced by "developed" secondary education in 1983. students had a choice to pursue science curricula (chemistry. 1998). 78 hours of division and department major courses. After the first semester. The system encouraged students to take more responsibility and play an active role in shaping their education. for example.. Saudi educational policymakers phased the "developed" high school plan out in 1993 because of the negative social consequences for both students and the society (Al Sunbul et al. In contrast with Al Sunbul and his colleagues.41). To meet the needs of both individuals and groups in society. To allow students to select the courses and activities that they need. 67 hours of general program core courses. some educators assert the need to reopen these schools Al Salloom (1991). Because of the need to expand secondary education and include additional academic programs and areas of study. A total of 168 semester hours was required to graduate.

26 . Some researchers (Al Salloom. They felt that the educational curriculum. So the focus of this study is on secondary education in Saudi Arabia.However. especially at the general high school level. 1991) have asserted that the existing high school curricula does not provide students with the knowledge and job skills needed for their future employment. over the last 10 years. educators have begun to criticize general secondary education. was not well-define! Their main concerned was that the high schools did not adequately prepare students for either college or the labor market.

other authorities which provide their affiliates and children with kindergarten. There are. Furthermore. Education authorities: The educational administration in Saudi Arabia consists of four agencies that have the authority to operate and run the educational system.2 General Presidency of Girls' Education: The General Presidency of Girls' Education was founded in 1960. which is planned by the Higher Committee for Education Policy. and special education. It is responsible for providing general education for female students from kindergarten to the college level. curriculum. it is also responsible for female teacher training and adult education and literacy. For both boys and girls these authorities abide by the educational ladder. teacher and superintendent training. I. the Ministry of Education is responsible for policy making and planning.1 Ministry of Education: The Ministry of Education was established in 1953. the Ministry runs elementary. The Ministry of Education's main objective is to provide general education for all male students. Such authorities are the Ministry of Defense and Aviation. secondary and adult education. The main four agencies are: I. and archeological research. study plans and curricula enforced in the Ministry of Education and the Presidency General for Girls Education respectively. and secondary male schools. elementary. 27 . however. Therefore. the museums. It is also responsible for the library system.Chapter five: The Structure of Educational Administration in Saudi Arabia I. It is considered the largest centralized educational agency in Saudi Arabia. In addition. intermediate. intermediate. the Presidency of National Guard and the Ministry of Interior.

the government established the first vocational school. Financing of Education: Article 233. and also coordinates post-secondary programs. p14) I. an occurrence which caused dynamic changes in both the industrial sector and the labor market.Chapter (9). The Ministry of Higher Education is responsible for the kingdom's eight universities and more than seventy-eight colleges. a division of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. Therefore. II. It also supervises scholarships of Saudi students studying abroad. vocational and commercial secondary schools. and higher technical institutes” (Alromi. the establishment of the Ministry of Higher Education was necessary. Before that time higher education was under the Ministry of Education.4 The Ministry of Higher Education: Due to the consequences of increasing numbers of schools and student enrollment. “The GOTEVT is now responsible for pre-vocational training centers.3 The General Organization for Technical Education and Vocational Training: With the advent of the oil revolution. the second in the General Administration of Vocational Training. In 1980 these two administrations were integrated into (GOTEVT). the Saudi Arabian government started thinking seriously about establishing vocational education to meet the demand of industrialization and increase the availability trained manpower. The General Organization for Technical Education and Vocational Training. According to Al Salloom (1991) two divisions of vocational and technical education were founded: one in the General Administration for Technical education. 2000.I. general provision of the Educational Policy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia provides that “education of all types and at all levels shall be free and that the 28 . in 1949. a division of the Ministry of Education.

Every year more and more funds are made available to education and this reflects the prominent rating of education on the priority list of overall development. It continued its annual increase till it reached 3760 by the end of the first five-year plan.8% of the total state budget. The Ministry of Education (1996) stated that: The budgetary expenditure on education during the years of the fiveyear national development plans commenced in the year 1970/71. 29 . It reached 29957 million SR in 1983/84. which was at that time 9. In 1978/79 education budget jumped to 16269 million SR.state shall not charge tuition fees". The budget regained its upward trend during the fifth year development plan where it reached 2817 million SR by the end of the plan representing 18% of the Total State budget. It worth mentioning that the education budgets are augmented from time to time in the light of the actual performance. However a little decrease was sustained during the fourth plan due to the completion of the large infrastructure projects and facilities. Education budgets started with 666 million SR. changing circumstances and the needs of the various educational establishments (p.56).

and at the same time be able to provide technical and educational expertise to the nation. therefore. This diversity helps meet the Kingdom's growing need for highly educated citizens to build on its rapid progress of the past few decades.Conclusion: The educational system in Saudi Arabia was prepared for the application of the Islamic philosophy on which the country was originally founded. Saudi Arabia now has a nationwide educational system that provides free training from preschool through university to all citizens. tends to create a faithful generation. Saudi educational philosophy. 30 . These schools taught Islamic law and basic literacy skills. Some 70 years later. which will be able to preserve Islamic thoughts and culture. education was not accessible to everyone and limited to individualized instruction at religious schools in mosques in urban areas. While the study of Islam remains at its core. The Royal embassy portfolio summaries the story of education in Saudi in these words: At the time the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932. the modern Saudi educational system provides quality instruction in diverse fields of modern and traditional arts and sciences.

Abdulaziz. S. Organization of education. Sebai. Riyadh. State College. Washington D.: Alkhurigy Publisher & Distributers. Jeddah. 1995.1980. 1990. 1999.A: Tohamah House for Publishing & Distributing. Hamad Ibraheem (Rivesed).A.Resources --. 31 . Ghanem S. D. 1979. Mohammed Alkhateeb. Washington D. S. Alromi.1996. 1991. Education Saudi Arabia.A. S.britannica. Riyadh.: Saudi Publishing & Distributing House.A. Riyadh. Al-Zaid. Development of Education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: National Report. Mustafa Motuali and Nooreldeen Abduljwad. Alsenbl.C. History of Educational Movement in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.: the Ministiry of Education. Al Salloom. The Educational Policy in the Saudi Arabian Kingdom. --. WV: West Virginia University.: The Saudi Arabian Culture Mission to the U. Education in Saudi Arabia: Amodel with diference.C. Morgantown. Hamad Ibraheem. Alkhubar. History of Mecca. Abdulaziz.: 1981.A. 1994.S. Jedduh. Abdel-Al. 2000. S. Education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ahmed. 1998. Al Salloom. S. Abdelfatah Ramadan. S.: International Grafeix. Reforming sience education in Saudi Arabia: A conceptual framework for the design of Coordinated and Thematic Science (CATS) Module for grades 79.A. Alfozan.hook --.com/eb/article?eu=108330&hook=302638#302638. Al-Ghanem. PA: Penn State University. Encyclopedia Brittanica: (online)http://www. Educational system in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. S. Riyadh.: The New Nationational Publisher & Distributers. History of Educational the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia . Vocational Education in Saudi Arabia.: the Ministiry of Education. Abdullah Mohammed.A. Naif.

Shalaby. 32 . Kuwait: Dar Alqalam.1987. History of Education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ali Muhammed.

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