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Saudi Arabia
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Saudi Arabia
Overview of the education system (EAG 2023)
  • In Saudi Arabia, 55% of 15-19 year-olds are enrolled in general upper secondary education. A further 4% are enrolled in lower secondary programmes and 15% in tertiary programmes. This compares to an OECD average of 37% enrolled in general upper secondary programmes, 12% in lower secondary programmes and 12% in tertiary programmes.
  • In Saudi Arabia, almost no 2-year-olds are enrolled in early childhood education (ECE). This increases to 1% of 3-year-olds, 14% of 4-year-olds and 37% of 5-year-olds.
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    The following list displays indicators for which your selected country shows the highest and lowest values among countries. The list can be sorted by level of education or by age group. All rankings are calculated including available data from OECD and partner countries. Find out more about the methodology here.

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    Participation in education

    The enrolment rate of 6-14 year-olds in Saudi Arabia is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (88.7 %, rank 43/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The proportion of upper secondary students enrolled in vocational programmes is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (0 %, rank 44/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The percentage of three-year-olds in early childhood education in Saudi Arabia is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.2 %, rank 80/82 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The percentage of four-year-olds in early childhood and primary education in Saudi Arabia is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (13.6 %, rank 81/82 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The enrolment rate of 25-29 year-olds in Saudi Arabia is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (6 %, rank 40/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The enrolment rate of 30-39 year-olds in Saudi Arabia is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (2 %, rank 38/42 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 3-5 year-old children in early childhood and primary education in Saudi Arabia is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (19.7 %, rank 41/41 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the enrolment rate of children under 3 is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (0 %, rank 37/40 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The share of upper secondary 15-19-year-old students enrolled in vocational programmes is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (0 %, rank 43/43 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The share of upper secondary 20-24-year-old students enrolled in vocational programmes is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (0 %, rank 41/41 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The enrolment rate of students aged 17 in general upper secondary programmes in Saudi Arabia is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (85.6 %, rank 3/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The enrolment rate of students aged 17 in vocational upper secondary programmes in Saudi Arabia is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (0 %, rank 40/40 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The enrolment rate of students aged 18 in vocational upper secondary programmes in Saudi Arabia is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (0 %, rank 40/40 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The enrolment rate of students aged 19 in vocational upper secondary programmes in Saudi Arabia is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (0 %, rank 39/40 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The enrolment rate of students aged 20 in vocational upper secondary programmes in Saudi Arabia is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (0 %, rank 38/39 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The enrolment rate among students aged 15-19 in upper secondary general programmes in Saudi Arabia is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (54.8 %, rank 2/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The enrolment rate among students aged 15-19 in upper secondary vocational programmes in Saudi Arabia is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (0 %, rank 40/40 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The enrolment rate among students aged 20-24 in upper secondary vocational programmes in Saudi Arabia is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (0 %, rank 36/38 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The percentage of four-year-olds in pre-primary in Saudi Arabia is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (13.6 %, rank 80/81 , 2021) Download Indicator

    Graduation by field of education

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of arts and humanities is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (15.4 %, rank 4/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of social sciences, journalism and information is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (4.3 %, rank 44/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (6.8 %, rank 43/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of health and welfare is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (4.7 %, rank 43/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of services is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.1 %, rank 40/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The share of doctoral graduates in the field of arts and humaties in Saudi Arabia is relatively large. (31.2 %, rank 1/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The share of doctoral graduates in the field of sciences, journalism and information in Saudi Arabia is relatively small. (5.3 %, rank 40/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The share of doctoral graduates in the field of business, administration and law in Saudi Arabia is relatively large. (23.6 %, rank 1/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The share of doctoral graduates in the field of Natural sciences, mathematics and statistics in Saudi Arabia is relatively small. (11.1 %, rank 41/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The share of doctoral graduates in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction in Saudi Arabia is relatively small. (1.5 %, rank 43/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The share of doctoral graduates in the field of health and welfare in Saudi Arabia is relatively small. (2.1 %, rank 42/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of agriculture, forestry, fisheries and veterinary is relatively low. (0.1 %, rank 44/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the share of short-cycle tertiary vocational graduates in the field of health and welfare is relatively low compared to other OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (0.3 %, rank 33/37 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the proportion of bachelor's, master's and doctoral or equivalent graduates in the field of arts and humanities is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (18.2 %, rank 1/45 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the proportion of bachelor's, master's and doctoral or equivalent graduates in the field of business, administration and law is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (32.6 %, rank 4/45 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the proportion of bachelor's, master's and doctoral or equivalent graduates in the field of STEM is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (15.4 %, rank 43/45 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the proportion of bachelor's, master's and doctoral or equivalent graduates in the field of health and welfare is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (5.7 %, rank 43/45 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the proportion of bachelor's, master's and doctoral or equivalent graduates in the field of services is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (0.4 %, rank 41/45 , 2021) Download Indicator

    Graduation by field of education and gender

    The proportion of female tertiary graduates in the humanities and arts is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries. (20.2 %, rank 3/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female tertiary graduates in health and welfare is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries. (5.6 %, rank 43/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the share of female doctoral graduates in the field of Natural sciences, mathematics and statistics is relatively high. (59.5 %, rank 3/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the share of female doctoral graduates in the field of business, administration and law is relatively low. (29.1 %, rank 41/43 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the share of female doctoral graduates in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is relatively low. (6.7 %, rank 44/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the share of female tertiary graduates in the field of social sciences, journalism and information is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (4.7 %, rank 44/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the proportion of male tertiary graduates in the field of social sciences, journalism and information is relatively small. (3.8 %, rank 43/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The share of male tertiary graduates in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics is relatively low in Saudi Arabia. (22.3 %, rank 44/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The share of male tertiary graduates in the field of health and welfare is relatively low in Saudi Arabia. (3.7 %, rank 42/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the share of female graduates in tertiary education in the fields of social sciences, journalism and information is one of the smallest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (56.1 %, rank 41/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the share of female graduates in tertiary education in the fields of business, administration and law is one of the smallest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (48.1 %, rank 42/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the share of female graduates in tertiary education in the fields of natural sciences, mathematics and statistics is one of the largest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (70.6 %, rank 1/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the share of female graduates in tertiary education in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics is one of the largest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (41.6 %, rank 4/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the share of female graduates in tertiary education in the fields of information and communication technologies is one of the largest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (51 %, rank 1/43 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the share of female graduates in tertiary education in the fields of engineering, manufacturing and construction is one of the smallest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (7 %, rank 44/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the share of female graduates in tertiary education in the fields of agriculture, forestry, fisheries and veterinary is one of the smallest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (0 %, rank 44/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the share of female graduates in tertiary education in the fields of health and welfare is one of the smallest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (61 %, rank 44/44 , 2021) Download Indicator

    Student mobility

    In Saudi Arabia, international or foreign students from Latin America and the Caribbean are least represented among all international or foreign students, compared to other OECD and partner countries with available data. (0.1 %, rank 43/43 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, international or foreign students from Africa are highest represented among all international or foreign students, compared to other OECD and partner countries with available data. (25.6 %, rank 3/43 , 2021) Download Indicator

    Government and private expenditure in education

    Compared to 2015, the share of total government expenditure is comparatively lowest in Saudi Arabia. (89 Index, rank 48/49 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Who the teachers are

    The share of women among teaching staff in pre-primary education is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (100 %, rank 1/42 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The share of women among teaching staff in primary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (52.8 %, rank 45/45 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The share of women among teaching staff in lower secondary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (50.3 %, rank 39/41 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The share of women among teaching staff in short-cycle tertiary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (27.3 %, rank 25/25 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the share of women among teaching staff in early childhood educational development is one of the lowest, compared to OECD and partner countries with available data. (0 %, rank 22/22 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The percentage of male teachers in pre-primary education is especially low in Saudi Arabia. (0 %, rank 42/42 , 2021) Download Indicator

    Ratio of student to teaching staff

    In Saudi Arabia, the number of students per teacher in public institutions short-cycle tertiary education is one of the highest among countries with available data. (339.2 Ratio, rank 1/21 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the number of students per teacher in private institutions short-cycle tertiary education is one of the lowest among countries with available data. (0 Ratio, rank 18/18 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Saudi Arabia, the number of students per teacher in private bachelor's, master's, doctoral or equivalent programmes is one of the lowest among countries with available data. (14.9 Ratio, rank 22/26 , 2021) Download Indicator


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    General findings
    
    
    • On average in OECD countries, the employment rate for younger adults (25-34 year-olds) with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education as their highest attainment is 83% for those with a vocational qualification and 73% for those with a general one.
    • Combined school- and work-based vocational programmes facilitate the transition into the labour market. In Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia and Switzerland, around nine out of ten upper secondary VET students are in a combined school- and work-based programme, but in 10 countries, the share is less than one in five.
    • Vocational education and training (VET) programmes, which often require specific equipment and infrastructure, typically cost more per student than general programmes. On average across OECD countries, expenditure per student is about USD 11 400 in general upper secondary programmes, compared to about USD 13 200 in vocational programmes.
    • On average across OECD countries, 43% of teachers in vocational upper secondary programmes are aged 50 or over. This reflects an ageing VET teacher workforce, and also that some VET teachers join the teaching profession after an industry work experience.
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    • On average across OECD, 20% of adults (25-64 year-olds) still do not have an upper secondary qualification in 2022. Forty percent have an upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary qualification as their highest level of education, the same share as those with a tertiary degree.
    • Employment rates increase as educational attainment increases. Among 25-64 year-olds, the employment rate is 59% for those with below upper secondary attainment. This rises to 77% for adults with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary attainment and 86% for those with tertiary attainment.
    • Civic engagement tends to increase as educational attainment increases. Across the OECD countries and accession countries participating in the European Social Survey (ESS) Round 10, around 10% of individuals with tertiary attainment have participated in a public demonstration in the previous 12 months, whereas 6% of individuals with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary educational attainment have done so.
    • The most common form of participation in adult learning is non-formal education and training, mostly job related. Slightly more than one in ten adults (25-64 year-olds) participate in non-formal education and training on average across OECD and accession countries reporting data with a four-week reference period, of which almost 80% have engaged in at least one job-related learning activity.
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    • On average, 18% of children under 2 and 43% of 2-year-olds were enrolled in early childhood education (ECEC) programmes in 2021 but other ECEC services also play a significant role. In Japan, 26% of children under 2 and 53% of 2-year-olds are enrolled in ECEC services outside ISCED 0.
    • In Canada, Ireland and New Zealand, vocational programmes mostly serve those who have completed their initial schooling, and less than 12% of 15-19 year-old upper secondary students are pursuing VET. In contrast, there are 11 OECD countries where the majority of 15-19 year-olds enrolled in upper secondary education are in vocational programmes.
    • Most upper secondary VET students are in programmes that offer direct access to tertiary education. Countries where around 30% or more vocational students enrolled in programmes that lead to full level completion without direct access to tertiary education tend to be those with multiple vocational tracks and bridging options to allow progression to higher levels of education.
    • On average, 72% of students who enter upper secondary education graduate within its theoretical duration across countries with available data. Two years after the end of the theoretical duration, the average completion rate has increased to 82%.
    • Students who entered a general upper secondary programme have a higher rate of completion (87%) than those who entered in a vocational programme (73%) in nearly all countries two years after the end of the theoretical programme duration.
    • The COVID-19 pandemic had a very uneven impact on international student flows across countries during the period 2019-2021. While the share of mobile students fell by 6 percentage points in Australia and 9 percentage points in New Zealand, it increased in several countries and remained unchanged in many others.
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    • Across OECD countries, expenditure per student averages around USD 10 700 at the primary level, USD 11 900 at secondary and USD 18 100 at tertiary level. This reflects the fact that higher levels of education often require teachers to have more advanced qualifications and specialised knowledge which are usually accompanied by higher salaries.
    • Vocational education and training (VET) programmes, which often require specific equipment and infrastructure, typically cost more per student than general programmes. On average across OECD countries, expenditure per student is about USD 11 400 in general upper secondary programmes, compared to about USD 13 200 in vocational programmes.
    • Upper secondary vocational programmes receive between 3% and 17% of all funding for primary to tertiary educational institutions. Post-secondary non-tertiary programmes, which are often vocational, receive as much as 7% of funding (in Ireland) and short-cycle tertiary as much as 10% (in Canada).
    • In 2020, on average across OECD countries, 84% of the funding for primary to tertiary educational institutions came directly from government sources, 15% from private sources and 1% from non-domestic (international) sources.
    • Higher education levels tend to have higher teachers' salary costs per student. On average across OECD countries, they rise from USD 3 614 per student in primary education to USD 4 424 in lower secondary education. This is mostly due to a combination of higher teachers' salaries and instruction time, and shorter teaching hours.
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    • Students across the OECD receive an average of 7 634 hours of compulsory instruction during their primary and lower secondary education, ranging from 5 245 hours in Poland to double that in Australia (11 000 hours).
    • Teachers' actual salaries at pre-primary, primary and general secondary levels of education are 81-95% of the earnings of tertiary-educated workers on average across OECD countries and other participants.
    • School heads' actual salaries are more than 51% higher on average than those of teachers across primary and secondary education in OECD countries and other participants.
    • More than three-quarters of the OECD countries have national, or central, examinations in the final years of upper secondary education (in general programmes). A large majority of these countries use these examinations to grant students access to tertiary education.
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    Key
    Diagram of funding flows - Saudi Arabia

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    Key
    Country Reviews for Saudi Arabia

    Note: These values should be interpreted with care since they are influenced by countries' specific contexts and trade-offs. In education, there is often no simple most- or least-efficient model. For instance, the share of private expenditure in education must be read against other measures designed to mitigate inequities, such as loans and grants; longer learning time is an opportunity to convey more and better content to students, but may hinder investments in other important areas. If you want further information on the nature of different variables, please take the time to read the analysis and contextual information, available at the website for each publication.
    All rankings for individual variables are compiled on the basis of OECD and G20 countries for which data are available. The OECD average includes only OECD countries which are listed here: http://www.oecd.org/about/membersandpartners/

    Reference years displayed in the Education GPS correspond to the most common year of reference among countries for which data is available on each variable. Data for the latest available year is preferred and some countries may have provided data refering to a more recent or late year. To know more about possible exceptions on data please click on the "Download Indicator" link on each variable. When a year of reference corresponds to a school year encompassing two years, the reference reads as follows: 2018 for school year 2017/2018.

    *TALIS averages are based on all countries participating in the TALIS survey, including partner countries and economies. This explains the difference between the OECD average and the TALIS averages. Data from the TALIS survey and Education at a Glance (EAG) may differ. See Annex E of the TALIS technical report and Annex 3 of EAG 2021 for more details about the data collections.

    B-S-J-Z (China) refers to the four PISA-participating provinces/municipalities of the People's Republic of China: Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

    For additional notes, please refer to annexes in the list of links below the introductory country profile text.