Saudi Arabian Higher Education and Saudi Arabian Women Challenges in Higher Education

Saudi Arabian Higher Education and Saudi Arabian Women Challenges in Higher Education

I am very happy to take the diversity class with my class mates and Dr. Justin. I have learned a lot form this class including diversity definition, identities, power, privilege, diversity statement, race, microaggressions, intersectionality, equity, racism, and diversity and inclusion in higher education. As I presented with my class mate about South Korea higher education and I saw my friend presented about her country. I would like to write about Saud Arabian higher education. Saudi Arabia is a country in the middle east (Arab Region). In 1932, Saudi Arabia was formally founded. The Saudi Arabia land area is 2,150,000 Km2. The population of Saudi Arabia in 2019 is 32,218,169 [1]. The system of government in Saudi Arabia is monarchy. The current currency is Saudi riyal (SR). The education in Saudi Arabia is important in the past century. The education is free to every Saudi citizen at all levels. The education system is under jurisdiction of the ministry of education. The education is divided by two main paths general education and higher education. The general education is divided by four levels pre-primary education, primary education, secondary education, and high school education. The higher education involves Diploma degree, Bachelor degree, Master degree, and PHD degree. There are private, public, and private international education in ministry education in Saudi Arabia. The female and male education are segregate which means there are male schools and female schools [2].

The higher education in Saudi Arabia focuses on the teaching, support the academic community, and researches. The higher education has 79 education centers including universities, community colleges, and institutions for male and female. According to the ministry of higher education, there were more than 757,770 students enrolled in Saudi universities between 2009-2010 which 56% were females and 44% were males. The largest student enrolments for both male and female are at the bachelor’s and associate levels. Then, the second level is master’s and doctoral degrees. The non-Saudi students focus on PHD level enrolments in Saudi universities. Usually the higher education receives fund from the government (state funding). All Saudi universities have both campuses for male and female (male campus and female campus) except two of them KFUPM (male campus only) and PNU (female campus only) [1]. The diversity rate in my home country, Saudi Arabia, is very low.

In the past years, women position in Saudi Arabia was almost ignored from the Saudi Arabian community. The general public in Saudi Arabia indicates that a Saudi women’s place is in her home only which is wrong in these days. However, the Saudi Arabian women play role in making decisions in the country in the last 4 years. The percentage of women working outside the home is 5% and these women are in the teaching and health sectors. However, the percentage of women working outside the home has been increased in last 10 years. Women’s education in Saudi Arabia must take into account development plans. Saudi Arabian women have the largest university in Saudi Arabia (Princess Noura Bint Abdul Rahman University) which is a female campus only. The women diversity rate in Saudi Arabian higher education is also very low [3].

Here are some of the Saudi Arabian women challenges in higher education [2,3]:

1- Women are still not admitted to engineering, law, petroleum, and political science.

2- Women do not enjoy full access to the facilities, such as some libraries and recreation centers.

3- Women do not receive the same quality of education as men because teachers for men are better trained.

4- Libraries for women only are extremely small and often poorly equipped.

5- Women scholarship opportunities are lower than men opportunities.

6- Women cannot travel outside the country without their parents. This issue is resolved in 2019.

7- Women cannot drive to their campuses inside the country. This issue is resolved in 2019.

8- Women cannot study at the night inside the campus because the culture against this issue. This issue is resolved in 2019.




[2]- Smith, Larry, and Abdulrahman Abouammoh. “Higher Education in Saudi Arabia.” Netherlands: Springer (2013).

[3]- Hamdan, Amani. “Women and education in Saudi Arabia: Challenges and achievements.”

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