Education- International Schools in Saudi Arabia

Education- International Schools in Saudi Arabia.
The Kingdom offers the best education systems and institutes, a great lifestyle excellent education for the children, it’s a win-win for an Ex-pat.

If you are tired of searching for international schools to give your child the best education in Saudi Arabia, then you are at the right place.

Ex-pat parents have a lot to consider between the curricula, Language of instruction, and cost when considering a school in Saudi Arabia.

Fortunately, there are many high-quality international schools in Saudi Arabia to choose from.

Read: Top Ranking International Schools in Riyadh

With research, inquiry, and planning, finding the right school for your child shouldn’t be too much of a challenge.

This article walks you through the details of the many types of schools available in the Kingdom. It will also help you in making your decision and the fees of the international schools in Saudi Arabia.

The education system of Saudi Arabia

The educational system in Saudi Arabia is structured to provide ex-pat children with many paths of pursuit. Saudi public schools teach in Arabic and are separate by gender; these schools do accept ex-pat children.

In Saudi Arabia primary education to high school is free and open to everybody.

The second option available is Saudi private schools, most of these schools follow the national curriculum, and here too, the Language of instruction is Arabic.

Read: Top 5 Best International Schools in Madinah

Few of these private schools would appeal to ex-pats, then there are the various nationality-based institutions like the Filipino schools that appeal to certain ex-pats.

Most ex-pats choose to send their children to the last of the options, international schools. These international schools serve British, American, or other international academic standards.

This article will offer a detailed overview of international schools in the Kingdom.

International schools 

International schools are very popular with the Western ex-pats as these schools keep their students on the same academic track they would have studied back home.

This is very convenient as specific international accreditations, like International Baccalaureate or Advanced Placement courses, find ready acceptance when applying to universities in the U.S.

Jeddah and Riyadh, where most ex-pat community resides, have more than 30 international schools.

Read: Top International Schools in Jubail

International school structures and systems vary depending on the type of school; most schools offer K-12 education.

Furthermore, these schools may have different classifications between primary and secondary, or elementary, middle, and high school. 

International school curricula and certificates 

International Baccalaureate (I.B.)

In Saudi Arabia, 19 schools offer the I.B. program; the International Baccalaureate program is structured with an emphasis on creativity, writing, critical thinking, and extracurricular service.

The I.B. diploma is accepted internationally in university applications and is recognized as a rigorous and well-rounded program.

Students learn Language, literature, math and science, and the arts.

International GCSE (IGCSE)

The International General Certificate of Secondary Education follows the British curriculum model. This model is structured into three stages;

Once a student completes all three stages, they receive an A-level qualification.

This A-level allows them to apply to any university in their field of choice.

Read: Top 10 Schools in Jeddah for your Child

But for that, students must pass an English Language and Literature exam, math, science or arts, and a foreign language to attain this qualification.

During the first two years of secondary school, students take the IGCSE through the CIE Board, and then again their A levels in their final two years of secondary school.

Ex-pat parents who want their children to study in British universities choose IGCSE schools to facilitate an easy transition to British universities.

American High School Diploma and Advanced Placement

The American academic system is divided into elementary, middle, and high schools but is a bit less structured than the other models.

Subjects taught at different schools of this system vary but generally include math, science, English, social studies, and a foreign language.

American schools are of great convenience if the student plans to study in the U.S., as these schools normally offer Advanced Placement courses.

(Advanced Placement Courses can count as college credit in the U.S., and SAT preparation classes.) These schools also provide U.S. university application counseling.

Should your child attend an international school?

Private vs. international schools

Choosing a private or an international school depends on your family’s preferences. A private school makes more sense if there is one available that caters specifically to your country’s educational system.

However, if your child will attend an international university, it would be better to enroll them in an international school.

Choosing an international school

Saudi Arabia has a much larger local vs. ex-pat population ratio as compared to its more expat-heavy neighbors.

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Therefore there aren’t as many international and private schools as you might find somewhere else in neighboring regions.

As a result, this narrows down your search and, on the flipside making things a little simpler.

The Language your child speaks

So, choosing the Language of instruction; what Language does your child speak or want’s to learn? How would this affect their choice of university? 

Required documents

Depending on the school’s requirements, you are likely to submit the following:

  • Application fee
  • Identification documents
  • Health certificates
  • A filled out school application


International Baccalaureate (I.B.)

Some of the more prestigious schools require interviews. Fees at these International Baccalaureate schools range from SAR 15,000 to SAR 70,000 per year. 

I.B. schools in the Kingdom:

American International Schools

Application forms vary; you are usually required to submit copies of identification, prior transcripts, any other supporting document, and an application fee.

Fees range from SAR 30,000 to SAR 90,000 per year. 

Following are the American international schools in the Kingdom

Top 10 Universities in Saudi Arabia Saudiscoop

British International Schools

Required documentation depends on the school. The general requirements are:

  • A filled-out application form
  • Application fee
  • Identification, parent, and student
  • Previous transcripts
  • any other supporting documents

School fees range between SAR 20,000 and SAR 90,000. 

British International Schools in the Kingdom:

Other International Schools

Although, there are plenty of schools belonging to various nationalities that cater specifically to ex-pats from that particular country.

Curriculum, Language of instruction, calendar, and costs vary, with some schools giving priority to nationals of their country.

Do your homework if you’re interested; here is a list of international schools in Saudi Arabia. This is not an exhaustive list.



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