Search for the best international schools in Saudi Arabia; you can find a list of selected schools at the bottom of the page. Use the search filters to select only girls' or boys' schools, prep schools, senior schools or sixth forms; or you can search for schools that offer a particular curriculum, such as the International Baccalaureate, the UK national curriculum, a US-style model or the International Primary Curriculum.
A large, private international school sector provides for the children of expatriates in Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest producer of oil. Campuses are concentrated in the capital Riyadh and the coastal cities of Jeddah and Al Khobar.
As well as many schools following British, American and international curriculums, there are German, Italian, Pakistani and Filipino foundations, serving the children of nationals working in the desert kingdom.
A total of eight schools are accredited by the Council of International Schools, while the Council of British International Schools has two members. There are 11 IB World Schools that offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma, including five authorised to teach three stages of the IB programme. In every IB school, the medium of instruction is English.
Al Faris International School in Riyadh was authorised to teach the IB Diploma in 2016 and the middle years and primary years programmes in 2017, while the International Programs School in Al Khobar gained authorisation to offer the IB Diploma in 2017.
International schools are divided into two types: those owned by Saudi citizens, which are supervised by the Ministry of Education and must conform to its regulations, such as mandatory segregation by gender, and those owned by foreign nationals, which are not.
However, the mould was broken in 2016, when the Nün Academy, a through-train international school teaching in English and Arabic, was set up by Sweden’s Kunskapsskolan Education Group in partnership with a Saudi schools group.
Arabic and religious subjects are taught in the early stages to meet Ministry of Education guidelines, with more instruction in English at secondary level as students progress towards IGCSEs. The school uses KEG’s personalised education model.
Children in Saudi Arabia must attend school from age six to 15 and are entitled to 12 years of free education in the public school system, which is made up of elementary, intermediate and secondary stages. Public provision for education of girls began in 1960.
All public schools are single sex and Islamic studies are compulsory at all levels, with a specialist religious track offered at secondary schools.In 2015, gross enrolment rates exceeded 100 per cent for primary students, including boys and girls, while gross enrolment in tertiary education was more than 60 per cent for both genders.
The country’s first higher education institution, King Saud University, was set up in 1957 and by 2013 there were 25 public universities, including many Islamic studies institutes. A university for women, which evolved out of an all-female teacher training college, is the largest women-only university in the world.
If you are looking specifically for International Baccalaureate World Schools in Saudi Arabia, you can find selected schools on our sister website: www.ibyb.org.