International Education

As of January 2015, the International Schools Consultancy (ISC) listed Saudi Arabia as having 203 international schools. ISC defines an 'international school' in the following terms "ISC includes an international school if the school delivers a curriculum to any combination of pre-school, primary or secondary students, wholly or partly in English outside an English-speaking country, or if a school in a country where English is one of the official languages, offers an English-medium curriculum other than the country's national curriculum and is international in its orientation." This definition is used by publications including The Economist.

In Saudi Arabia some international schools are owned by communities of foreign nationals, while others are private schools owned by individuals with Saudi citizenship.

The Saudi government limits community schools to one per locality or city per nationality; diplomatic missions either supervise or directly operate the community schools. These community schools are not required to separate male and female students into separate campuses and are allowed to host social activities with men and women mixed. They are not required to have Saudi citizens as sponsors since the Saudi authorities consider the schools to be under the sponsorship of the diplomatic missions. Czarina Valerie A. Regis and Allan B. de Guzman, authors of "A system within a system: the Philippine schools overseas," wrote that the Saudi Ministry of Education "still exercises restraint in implementing its regulatory functions" on community schools.

There may be more than one private school per nationality per city: the number of private schools that may be established is dependent upon the number of Saudi nationals willing to open a school in that city. Unlike community international schools, private international schools are required to follow Saudi regulations, including those related to gender segregation.

Philippine schools
As of February 2006 about 75% of the Philippine international schools represented by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) were located in Saudi Arabia. Community-owned Philippine schools, including the International Philippine School in Al Khobar (IPSA), the International Philippine School in Jeddah (IPSJ), and International Philippine School in Riyadh (IPSR), were by 2006 managed by independent school boards but were initially managed by the diplomatic missions themselves. As of 2006 Riyadh has 13 Philippine private schools and Jeddah has 5 Philippine private schools.

Large numbers of Philippine children came to Saudi after many Filipino workers arrived in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s. The first Philippine school in Saudi Arabia, Philippine School in Jeddah was established after the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah began making efforts to start a school in 1983, and Philippine schools were later established in Riyadh and other Saudi cities. In 2000 Saudi Arabia had nine accredited Philippine schools. By 2005 Jeddah alone had four Philippine international schools, with two more scheduled to open shortly. By 2006 there were 21 Philippine schools recognized by the CFO, reflecting a 133% growth rate from 2000. Regis and Guzman stated that in private Philippine schools many Saudi rules that are not consistent with the culture of the Philippines are enforced.