The educational system in Saudi Arabia is under the control of the government. It has given priority funding to education which accounts for 23% of the national budget and 7.5% of the GNP. Over the years, the education system has evolved in incorporating subjects that equip students with the knowledge that they require to actively participate in nation building.
The education system has embraced certain aspects in preparing the students to face the outside world. It is diversified both geographically and in terms of the subjects covered in school. As opposed to the past, the system emphasizes vocational training, science and technology subjects to ensure that the Saudi students are at par with the global scientific and technological advancement. In the past, the main language that was used for studies was Arabic. Currently, English has also become a main medium of instruction in the classrooms to cope with the demands of the contemporary world. English is introduced at the age of 9 to ensure that by the time a student graduates they are able to communicate fluently in English. Students are also able to interact with others at the international level since the system encourages studying abroad.
The system however has some weaknesses as far as equipping students with knowledge required in the current global economy. The government has central control of all the textbooks and classroom materials used throughout the education levels both in public and private learning institutions. To some extent, it makes the curriculum unable to meet all the needs of the contemporary society. A key aspect of the system is rote memorization of the limited number of textbooks approved by the government. This hinders the students from increasing their levels of creativity which is an important aspect for the economic prosperity of a nation. The system has allocated a lot of time in the study of Islam giving little time to the study of non-Islamic content such as science and technology.
Over the years, the education system has evolved in incorporating subjects that equip students with the knowledge that they require to actively participate in nation building. This includes the increased emphasis of studying science and technology as well as vocational training. English has become an instruction language in the classroom besides the increased emphasis on studying abroad. However, it has some weaknesses which include strict government control of reading materials, rote memorization and less time allocation to non-Islamic studies.