RIYADH: Education in Saudi Arabia continues to gain global recognition with the Kingdom advancing five positions in the latest Human Development Index.
The HDI, a report released by the UN Development Program, ranked Saudi Arabia 35th out of 191 countries for 2022. In the previous report, Saudi Arabia was ranked in 40th place. In addition, the Kingdom was ranked 10th among the G20 countries and made the most progress between 2019 and 2021.
In knowledge acquisition, the Kingdom has made significant progress by advancing 18 places in the Mean Years of Schooling Index. Saudi Arabia ranked 56th place compared to 74th place in the previous report. This reflects the continuation of efforts to improve learning outcomes and the strengthening of the Kingdom’s education capacity in global competition.
The progress on the knowledge-acquisition scale demonstrates the education system’s commitment to developing human capabilities, which enhances the Kingdom’s global competitiveness and contributes to its international ranking.
As it takes many years to achieve this level of progress, Saudi Arabia’s education system was able to reach these goals, outlined in the Kingdom Vision 2030, in a shorter time. The success is due in part to the investment in education and support of the Saudi leadership.
The UNDP 2022 report is based on three fundamental dimensions of human development: A long and healthy life, knowledge, and an adequate standard of living. The Ministry of Education has been enacting policies and initiatives from early-childhood education to lifelong learning in an effort to transform Saudi Arabia into a model knowledge society.
The chairman of the Education and Scientific Research Committee at the Shoura Council, Dr. Nasser Al-Moussa, said that the Kingdom had always been interested in scientific research, the power of knowledge, and education in general.
The outputs of education constituted part of the social fabric, he said. Manpower was represented in graduates such as doctors, engineers and other cadres, with the Kingdom allocating a quarter of its annual budget to the education sector. In recent years, a decision was made by the Cabinet to allocate an item in the ministry’s budget for scientific research, as it is the most important means for societies to develop, he said.
Al-Moussa told Arab News that the Kingdom’s interest in education, scientific research, development and innovation stemmed from higher innovation bodies and committees in research, development and innovation expertise. These components had contributed to the Kingdom’s strong entry in the global rankings.
Al-Moussa said that the Kingdom was showing impressive and consecutive results at the international level, reflecting the efforts in supporting education and its outputs, especially in the digital, educational and innovation fields.
Shoura Council member, Dr. Sultana Al-Badawi, said that the council was pleased with the reports issued by the UNDP showing the Kingdom advancing in the latest index. She said that in light of the systematic development that the Kingdom was undergoing, and based on a clear and ambitious vision supported by King Salman’s government and with the personal follow-up of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, it was not surprising that the Kingdom’s positions had progressed in several different international indicators.
Al-Badawi told Arab News that the Kingdom’s progress in the Knowledge Index was the result of efforts in enhancing development and achieving the programs of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, through one of its largest and most important tools, education. This was evident through the outputs of education, which received great support at the level of legislation and regulations, she said. The leadership also supported scientific research and innovation, paying attention to digital education, promoting knowledge acquisition for citizens and residents.
She said that the Kingdom’s progress in international indicators was a sign that it possessed the tools to compete internationally. This opened doors for the Kingdom to be a global partner capable of contributing and advancing with the world’s developed countries.
Shoura Council member, Maj. Gen. Nasser Al-Shaibani, said that the Kingdom was progressing at all levels, not only in human development. It had improved its technologies and cybersecurity so it was not surprising that it has progressed in the rankings. This reflected the great interest in universities and public education through technical transformations, technology accelerators and attention to human cadres appointed in this program, he said.