Education System in Saudi Arabia
In Saudi Arabia primary education through to high school is open to everybody and is free. Children may attend kindergartens as parents wish. At age 6 though, they must enroll for 6 years at primary school. These are day schools only, and are not co-educational. According to UNESCO, gross enrollment for boys is 99%, but only 96.3% for girls.
Three years of intermediate general academic education follows. The percentage of girls is 47% of total students, and the overall gross enrollment rate 95.9%
During the final 3 years of free education, this time in secondary schools, students have a choice between continuing general education, and switching to specialized secondary education at technical secondary institutes. Here 3 year vocational education and training programs are available in the fields of agriculture, commerce and industry. Overall, the gross enrollment rate drops to 91%.
The Saudi Arabian Government is establishing over 150 vocational training centers to create over 3 million jobs over 10 years and reduce reliance on oil income. Main areas for growth include metals processing, and manufacturing of automotive components.
There are 24 government universities in Saudi Arabia where degrees in medicine, pharmacy and engineering take 6 years to complete, and humanities and social sciences, 4 (which are the choice of 70% of students). Notwithstanding this, the state awards over 5,000 bursaries for overseas study annually.
King Saud University was established as the first ever in the Persian Gulf not dedicated to religious subjects. Today, over 40,000 students of both sexes study there.