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School students in Saudi Arabia 2013-2017

As of 2017, the number of students enrolled in Saudi Arabian schools was about 6.1 million; a steady decrease compared to the previous years. The majority of those school students, around 3.2 million, study at a primary school level.  

Education quality

   Saudi Arabia is ranked in the middle amongst all Gulf Cooperation Council countries in most quality of education indicators. However, almost 82 percent of Saudi Arabian students attend public schools in contrast to only 27 percent in the United Arab Emirates. The student to teacher ratio in primary education for Saudi Arabia was 11.7. The government of Saudi Arabia budgeted 21.6 percent of its total expenditure for the education sector in 2018.

 Gender and education

   As of 2017, the number of male students of all school levels was 3.1 million compared to almost three million female school students. While analyzing the gender distribution of primary school students, the slight increase of male pupils does not take into account the educational gap observed amongst secondary students, due to the fact that there are over 100 thousand more male than female students in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

 Return of education

   The labor force gender participation gap in Saudi Arabia is about 74 percent. Only 20.4 percent of the Saudi Arabian female population participated in the labor force. Across the Middle East and North African region, an average of 23.5 percent of the female population above the age of were participating in the labor force. The gap in female education is also reflected in the gender pay gap. In the majority of jobs women tend to earn less then men in Saudi Arabia despite the same level of education.

Number of students in Saudi Arabia from 2013 to 2017

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Release date

May 2018


Saudi Arabia

Survey time period

2013 to 2017

Supplementary notes

* Includes adult education.

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