Higher education in Saudi Arabia: challenges, opportunities, and future directions

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Ryan, Marie
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Academic and Business Research Institute
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Under the Saudi Vision 2030, the Ministry of Education (MoE) is responsible for educating Saudi Arabia's youth and preparing them for future employment. The recent expansion of higher education institutions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia both in terms of quantity and quality demonstrates the government's belief that higher education is critical to the country's transition from an oil-based economy to a knowledge-based economy. The Ministry has overhauled curricula and raised education standards across the country. A key aspect of Vision 2030's success is the country's ability to enhance human capital and reduce the skills gap between higher education graduates and labour force demands. While Saudi citizens have benefited from government employment initiatives, educational institutions must similarly respond by adapting and ensuring their students are equipped with the skills needed to fulfill market demands. The purpose of this paper is to present the status of higher education in Saudi Arabia and discuss prospective opportunities within the Saudi higher education sector to tackle the skills gap and raise employment prospects of its graduates. This work discusses the expansion and growth of higher education in Saudi Arabia. Factors impacting Saudi Arabian higher education are presented, followed by a discussion of current Saudi government initiatives. Despite the positive initiatives currently witnessed in Saudi Arabia, the prevalence of a national skills-gap remains a concern. This skills gap, its occurrence, and causes are investigated, and solutions for bridging the gap are provided.
Higher education , Saudi Arabia , Skills-gap , Saudi vision 2030 , Micro credentials
Ryan, M. (2023) 'Higher education in Saudi Arabia: challenges, opportunities, and future directions', Research in Higher Education Journal, 43, pp. 1-15. Available at: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1382950 (Accessed: 26 March 2024)
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© 2023, Marie Ryan. Published by Academic and Business Research Institute.