The education, which is financed by the state, plays a central role in the national development plans. The goals are primary education for all, skills that suit the economy and teaching Islamic faith and culture. The school structure consists of 6-year compulsory school, which is not compulsory, 3-year middle school and 3-year higher secondary school. Less than 10% of students attend private schools. Schooling for girls first became available in the 1960s; the girls go in a separate, state school system. Nowadays the girls make up just over half of the students. Undergraduate education at the country’s seven universities is 4-5 years old with the dominance of the humanities and social sciences, which has led to a shortage of highly educated technicians.
Saudi Arabia flag source: Countryaah.com
Major investments have been made in recent years at universities of technology and science and universities. The demand for places from female students is very high. The proportion of female students among university students is about 60%. King Fahd’s university in the eastern province has long been the foremost, but the new King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), which King Abdullah has built in a special zone outside Jeddah, is now by far the most prominent. KAUST has the National University of Singapore (NUS) as its role model and its CEO is now linked to the Saudi University as well as a dozen Nobel laureates in physics and chemistry.
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The number of pupils in schools has increased explosively since the 1960s, which has resulted in teacher shortages and imports (about 30%) of teachers from other Arab states. Arabic is the language of instruction in primary and secondary schools, while English is widely used at higher levels. According to the Saudi Ministry of Education, literacy has increased from 40% in 1972 to 87% in 2010. Among young people aged 15 to 24, literacy is 96%.
Also in June, a coalition of international NGOs – including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International – called on the UN General Assembly to suspend Saudi Arabia’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council because of the country’s grave and systematic violations of human rights in Yemen.
In September 2016, the United States Congress voted overwhelmingly to reject the veto President Obama had filed against the so-called Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). The law allowed families affected by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to claim compensation from Saudi Arabia, which supplied most terrorists with the attacks. Already in April, Saudi Arabia had threatened to sell its $ 750 billion portfolio US $ in North American government bonds.
Denmark and the rest of the Western world do not usually criticize the medieval kleptocracy of Saudi Arabia. There are too many economic and political interests involved. But at a conference in Rome in December, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson took the leaf out of his mouth and declared that Saudi Arabia was waging deputy wars in the region:
There are politicians who are twisting and abusing religion and different strains of the same religion in order to further their own political objectives. That’s one of the biggest political problems in the whole region. And the tragedy for me – and that’s why you’ve been fighting these proxies all the time in that area – is that there isn’t strong enough leadership in the countries themselves.
Johnson identified then pointed to Iran and Saudi Arabia: That’s why you’ve got the Saudis, Iran, everybody, moving in, and puppeteering and playing proxy wars.
The statement coincided with Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to a high-profile commercial visit to the Gulf States. praised the Saudi royal house for its “visionary leadership” and the great value of the 100-year-old alliance between the two countries. The British Foreign Ministry was soon out with corrective statements highlighting the close ties between Britain and Saudi Arabia. The United States and Britain are major suppliers of weapons to Saudi Arabia’s brutal war against Yemen. The British military orders alone amount to 2 billion. £ a year, and despite the documentation of Saudi war crimes in Yemen, the Conservative British government refuses to curb lucrative exports. Great Britain supplies illegal cluster bombs used by Saudi Arabia to commit war crimes in Yemen. (Johnson says Saudi Arabia is a ‘puppeteer’ in Middle East proxy wars, Guardian 8/12 2016).