This guide to the education system in KSA explores the options for primary and secondary education, homeschooling, and special needs.
When considering a significant initiative abroad, most foreign parents are concerned about the educational options for their children. Generally, education in KSA boils down to finding a school that meets your needs, is affordable, and accepts new students.
Foreigners from all over the world live and work in Saudi Arabia. As a result, the state offers various educational options for expat children. Some schools deal with a particular country or method as well as teaching different languages. So, you will have to do your research to find the right school for your child.
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This helpful guide will provide all necessary information about primary and secondary education options in Saudi Arabia and homeschooling and special needs. It includes the following information:
- EDUCATION IN KSA
- PRESCHOOL EDUCATION IN KSA
- ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN KSA
- SECONDARY EDUCATION IN KSA
- GRADUATION IN KSA
- SUPPORT FOR THE CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS (SEN)
- CHANGING SCHOOLS IN KSA
- HOMESCHOOLING EDUCATION IN KSA
- EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT FOR EXPAT’S CHILD IN KSA
(1)- Education In KSA
Education options in Saudi Arabia largely depend on your passport and, to some extent, your religion. However, although there are many public, private and international schools, access is not universal.
Saudi government schools, for example, are open only to citizens and residents. “Non-resident children can enter on the condition that they are Muslims,” he said. It is essential to keep in mind that Saudi public schools are gender-segregated. He focuses most of his education on topics such as Islamic studies.
Private schools are privately run but mostly follow the national curriculum and teach in Arabic. Therefore, it may not be a viable option for many foreigners. Most of them will choose to send their children to international schools. Across the country, however, education is organized in kindergarten (optional) and primary and secondary units. Many institutions offer all three units in their schools—the Ministry of Education and the General Presidency for Girls’ Education control all schools in the country.
(2)- Preschool Education In KSA
There are many public, private and international nurseries (for children between 0 and 3) and kindergarten or preschool (for children 3 to 5). However, they are not mandatory across the country. The focus of this education is to help students develop sensory and social, and collaborative skills. Also, the skills needed to enter primary school.
It is essential to keep in mind that the public and private schools curriculum is entirely in Arabic and includes Islamic guidelines. In addition, the classes are taught simply by women and are not gender-segregated. Foreigners wishing to enroll their children in an international preschool should consider that the costs can be as high as SAR 10,000 – SAR 65,000 per year.
(3)- Elementary (Primary) Education In KSA
In Saudi Arabia, the primary school is for students between 6 and 12 and get overseen by the National Ministry of Education. All students in the state must legally attend all six years of primary school. However, none of higher education is mandatory.
Public Primary School In KSA
Government-run primary schools are free and internationally available to Saudi nationals and some foreigners. And although individual schools are different, they often rely on the subject of memorization and repetition. The language of instruction is Arabic, and there is a strong emphasis on Islamic studies.
These facts get accompanied by complaints about disorganization and difficulty in transferring educational credit to your home education system. That prevents many foreigners from enrolling their children in government schools.
Private Primary School In KSA
Private schools in the KSA can range from Saudi private schools to nationalist institutions – for example, German schools – in schools that focus on a particular teaching standard or methodology. For instance, international baccalaureate (IB) Many foreigners find the cost of education a severe consideration. The costs can range from SAR 15,000 to SAR 100,000, depending on the school. Therefore, it is essential that you do your research and set your educational priorities as a family before going to school.
(4)- Secondary Education In KSA
Depending on the institution, a secondary school in Saudi Arabia may have a different meaning. After primary school, the Saudi system is divided into intermediate (ages 13-16) and secondary (ages 17-19). Meanwhile, some international schools in KSA call secondary school high school and offer it to children between 14 and 17. However, neither the secondary nor intermediate school is compulsory in the country – although this gets highly recommended
Public Secondary School In KSA
Government schools such as Intermediate and Secondary schools are free for KSA residents. However, the quality depends on the institution. Students usually study mathematics, science, literature, history, Arabic, and Islamic sciences. With English becoming a compulsory subject in secondary school. Students who complete intermediate schools also can enroll in secondary schools with special attention, such as arts, sciences, commerce, or a particular profession.
Private Secondary School In KSA
There are many private schools in the country. Some of them follow the Saudi national curriculum, and some follow international certifications. Such as the international baccalaureate program. International schools generally follow either the standard of education of a particular educational model – for example, the British GCSE – or the standard of education of a specific country, such as French international schools.
As an expat in KSA, your best bet is to enroll your child in an international school. So take some time to consider what kind of curriculum you want your child to learn. It would help to consider whether they intend to continue their education to ensure that their education has the necessary approval.
(5)- Graduation In KSA
Towards the end of secondary school in KSA, students in public schools take the General Aptitude Test (GAT). An oral and quantitative test to test how much they have learned and how much they are ready for further study. Many Saudi universities require a GAT for admission. However, students who intend to study abroad at a university will need to meet the admission requirements of whichever school and country they apply to. One way to avoid accreditation and enrollment problems is to enroll in a school that uses the country’s curriculum in which you are hoping to study.
KSA is an excellent option for students studying internationally who want an internationally recognized education system. Widely regarded as a rigorous course of study, an IB diploma shows that students are well-rounded, critical thinkers. Conveniently, 19 schools across the country offer IB programs.
(6)- Support For The Children With Special Education Needs (Sen)
Some schools in the country have special needs. Meanwhile, others serve as centres dedicated to students with special needs. As a parent with a child with special needs, you will need to do significant research to ensure that a school or centre can meet your child’s specific needs. Do your homework, ask questions, and schedule a visit before enrolling.
Saudi institutions focus on students with special needs. These include Shamwa Al-Amal, Prince Sultan Center for Special Education Support Services, and Arizona Centers for Comprehensive Education and Life Skills. For foreigners, the best place to start is with individual schools because they do great at accommodating students with special needs. Check out the International Schools Group Dharan Campus, American International School Jeddah Campus, and British School of Jeddah.
(7)- Changing Schools In KSA
Most foreigners have to pay a fee to send their children to private or international schools, so they have considerable autonomy. You can take your child out of school whenever you want. However, it may make sense to wait for your child until the end of the semester or yearly leave. The challenge for most foreigners is not to take their child back from a school but to find a school accepting new students. Waiting lists for popular schools can be very long. Therefore, make sure that the desired school receives them before withdrawing.
(8)- Homeschooling Education In KSA
Homeschooling is allowed in Saudi Arabia, but finding the right resources can be tricky since it is not officially recognized. Most foreigners decide to enroll their children in international schools because they offer such comprehensive options. That said, some parents choose a home school. Luckily, there are plenty of online resources to help parents on their homeschooling journey including, Enlightium Academy and Wolsey Hall Oxford. There are also home school parent networks, such as the Jeddah Home Schools Network.
(9)- Educational Support For Expat’s Child In KSA
If you plan to enroll your child in a government school, get prepared for your child’s educational needs in Arabic. Since most public school students are Saudis, you may find it challenging to find resources based on Expat’s experience.
If you choose to enroll your child in an international school, like most foreigners, you will find an education system suitable for international students. Often with preparations options like SAT or GCSE. Because the majority of their students are non-Saudi, international schools often do an excellent job of meeting the needs of foreign children.