Intermediate and Secondary Education

Intermediate education in Saudi Arabia lasts three years. According to government data, 1,144,548 students (609,300 male and 535,248 female) are in intermediate education in 2007 and the number of teachers totals 108,065 (54,034 male and 54,031 female) in 2007. According to gross enrollment the total rate is 95.9 percent in 2007.

Secondary education in Saudi Arabia lasts three years and this is the final stage of general education. After the intermediate education, students have the opportunity for both general and specialized secondary education. Technical secondary institute which provide technical and vocational education and training programs lasts three years in the fields of industry, commerce and agriculture.

According to government data, 1,013,074 students (541,849 male and 471,225 female) are in secondary education in 2007 and the number of teachers totals 87,823 (41,108 male and 46,715 female) in 2007.

As of 2007, gross enrollment rates are 91.8% in secondary education.

Higher education in Saudi Arabia lasts four years in the field of humanities and social sciences and five to six years in the field of medicine, engineering and pharmacy. The establishment of the King Saud University in 1957 is a starting point of the modern higher education system in Saudi Arabia. This was also the first university in all the Arab states of the Persian Gulf.

There are 24 government universities in Saudi Arabia, established in a short span of time. Among them, Taibah University, Qassim University and Taif University were established under the Seventh Development Plan. The universities consists of colleges and departments that offer diplomas, and bachelor's, master's and PhD degrees in various scientific and humanities specializations. Some colleges and departments also provide distance learning. There also exist private colleges, community colleges affiliated to universities, and girls colleges, in addition to government agencies and institutions that provide specialist university-level education.

According to a World Bank report, more than 70 percent of the students in Saudi Arabia are in the fields of humanities and social sciences, a figure similar to that of other Arab countries, like Djibouti, Egypt, Morocco, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and West Bank and Gaza

According to government data, a total of 636,245 (268,080 male and 368,165 female) students were enrolled in higher education in 2006. Among them, 528,146 students (187,489 male and 340,657 female) were in Bachelor programs, 9,768 students (5,551 male and 4,217 female) were in Master programs, and 2,410 students (1,293 male and 1,117 female) were in Ph.D. programs. Another 93,968 students (72,199 male and 21,769 female) were in Intermediate Diploma courses and 1,953 students (1,548 male and 405 female) were in Higher Diploma course. According to the World Bank, in 2006 the gross enrollment ratio for females was 36.1 percent, the gross enrollment ratio for males was 24.7 percent, and the total gross enrollment ratio was 30.2 percent.

In 2005, King Abdullah implemented a government scholarship program to send young Saudi nationals to Western universities for undergraduate and postgraduate studies. The program offers funds for tuition and living expenses for up to four years. An estimated 5,000 Saudi students received government scholarships to study abroad for the 2007/2008 academic year. Students mostly studied at universities in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, France, and Germany.

In the United Kingdom alone, more than 15,000 Saudi students, 25% of whom are women, attend universities. The large number of students also includes Saudis paying their own tuition. The large influx of Saudi students to the United Kingdom prompted the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education in 2010 to close access to the country for further study.