The leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi
Arabia has realized, for many years, the importance of preparing
qualified Saudis in order to build the nation. It believes that the
cultural and scientific progress of any nation is closely dependent on
qualified citizens who can take on the task of building the nation.
This trend has been reflected in the
successive development plans, which have emphasized the need to
develop human resources (the nation's real wealth). The Custodian of
the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz was the pioneer of
education in the Kingdom. He laid the foundations for the Kingdom's
educational system and since then has been following the progress of
education with great interest.
As a result of this official interest
from the Saudi Government, the Kingdom has witnessed great advances in
education. The Kingdom now has eight universities in all parts of the
country. Each university is academically and administratively
independent and has modern dormitories. The government provides all
the financial support needed by the universities.
These eight universities have 76
colleges, covering 400 specialized fields. These colleges have 10,000
staff and 239,000 students. The Kingdom also has 72 faculties
affiliated to the General Presidency of Girls’ Education, with an
estimated 195,000 students. The Ministry of Education has 18 technical
faculties, which have an estimated 22,500 students. There are also
5,000 students at health faculties and institutes.
The Umm al-Qura University was the
first university to be established in the Kingdom, in 1369 AH. The
College of Shariah was the first modern higher education
establishment. The Umm al-Qura University now has nine colleges that
teach more than 50 specialized fields and have more than 31,000 male
and female students.
The second university is the Islamic
University in Madinah al-Munawarah, established in 1381AH, in order to
enhance the role of the Kingdom in serving Islam and Muslims all over
the world. The University has allocated 58 per cent of its seats to
non-Saudi students from more than 105 countries. It has five colleges
that teach 16 specialized fields in various Islamic sciences and has
more than 4,000 students.
The third university is the Imam
Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University, established in 1373/1374AH. It
started with two colleges of Shariah and Arabic Language. The
University now has 12 colleges, with more than 51,000 male and female
students. The university has affiliated institutes in the United Arab
Emirates, Mauritania, Indonesia, Japan, Djibouti and the USA.
The fourth university is the King
Saud University, which was established in 1377/1378AH. It is
considered as one of the largest universities in the world, in terms
of diversity of specialized fields. It has 62,000 male and female
students, studying at 17 colleges.
The fifth university is the King
Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, established in 1384 AH. It has more
than 36,000 male and female students, studying at eleven colleges,
which have more than 87 specialized fields.
The sixth university is the King Fahd
University for Petroleum and Minerals, which started as a Faculty for
Petroleum and Minerals in 1383AH and turned into a university in
1395AH. The University has six scientific colleges and more than 9,000
The seventh university is the King
Faisal University, which started in 1395AH. It has seven colleges and
more than 15,000 male and female students.
The eighth university is the King
Khaled University, which started in Abha, in the Asir region in
1419/1420AH. It comprises four colleges and nearly 13,000 male and
female students, studying medicine, education and science.
As for the fields of scientific
research and foreign participation, more than 700 professors
participated in a number of scientific conferences and meetings at a
number of academic centers all over the world in the academic year
Moreover, a Royal approval was issued
on the decision of the Council of Higher Education to establish four
colleges in various regions, as well as a college of technology in
Recently, an organizational
regulation was issued to set up non-profitable private colleges in
various regions of the Kingdom to be an extension of the role of