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Education in the GCC - statistics & facts

Though the Gulf Cooperation Council consists of six oil rich countries, it still shares many of the challenges associated with the Middle Eastern social-economical structure to whose wider region it belongs. As with almost all Middle Eastern countries, the Gulf Cooperation Council states have relatively young indigenous populations which suffer from high unemployment levels.
The Gulf Cooperation Council states have developed different strategies to address this problem; one being to invest more into education.

Investment in education

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the biggest economy in the Gulf-subregion in terms of economic power and manpower. The Saudi Arabian government invests the largest amount of their budget amongst all Gulf countries into their education sector.

Currently, the operating revenue for the education sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is above 4.5 billion U.S. dollars. Saudi Arabia had the largest school student demographic in the region with over 6.4 million pupils enrolled in education facilities as of 2019.

The majority of students in the Gulf Cooperation Council are enrolled in secondary education.

Public and private education sector

Educating their own population is a priority for the governments in the Gulf Cooperation Council states; as this ensures their citizens have the qualifications to enter the national workforce. As is the case in Qatar, local students are enrolled in governmental schools, while the majority of children from expats and foreign workers are enrolled in private schools.
One main motivation for expats to send their children to private schools during their stay in the Gulf Cooperation Council is that private schools offer a wide range of foreign curricula. This will assist students to either continue their education when relocating, or help them when pursuing higher education overseas where those qualifications are acknowledged.


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