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Education- International Schools in Saudi Arabia

LifestyleEducation- International Schools in Saudi Arabia

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 much 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.

Read: Top Ranking International Schools in Riyadh

With research, inquiry, and planning, finding the right school for your child shouldn’t be too challenging.

This article walks you through the details of the many types of schools available in the Kingdom. It will also help you decide on 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 separated by gender; these schools do accept ex-pat children.

In Saudi Arabia, primary education in 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 their A levels again 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 slightly 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 convenient if the student plans to study in the U.S., as these schools normally offer Advanced Placement courses.

(Advanced Placement Courses and SAT preparation classes can count as college credit in the U.S..) 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 one is available that caters specifically to your country’s educational system.

However, if your child attends an international university, enrolling them in an international school would be better.

Choosing an international school

Saudi Arabia has a much larger local vs. ex-pat population ratio than its expat-heavy neighbors.

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