A leading educationist in Riyadh said interest among Saudi students in foreign education has increased by 30 percent especially after they have been allowed to join international schools.
Sahar Bint Hamad Al-Marzouki, owner and director general of Al-Faris International Schools Group, pointed out that the number of parents following up with their children’s education has also increased significantly.
“They are always keen to create the best education channels and environments that perfectly prepare the children for the job market by involving them in foreign education — American, British and French systems. These systems qualify them to cope with the changes in general and to keep up with the goals of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030,” she said.
Al-Marzouki expected the number of Saudis in international schools to increase to 60 percent by the end of 2018. There will also be an increase in the number of foreign schools, she added.
Al-Marzouki says religion and Arabic language curricula, under the direction of the Ministry of Education, are never ignored as they form the foundation of good education in all schools.
“This concept is completely adopted in Al-Faris School. Accordingly, the ratio of Saudi students in Al-Faris School nowadays is 70 percent against 30 percent foreign students,” Al-Marzouki said.
She pointed out that her teaching staff, working in both Saudi and international education systems, were very efficient and professional. The teachers in the international schools are selected based on certain criteria and they are continuously asked to attend professional development courses.
Clarifying the role and impact of the international schools in the Kingdom, Al-Marzouki said: “Certainly they do have a notable role, which encouraged Al-Faris School to go through this unique, educational IB experience, especially in economic terms, where it facilitates the rights of communities to choose the culture and institution where their children attain their education.”
As for the success of these schools and their performance, Al-Marzouki said: “It is a success and its role is clearly visible.”
She continued: “Teaching the practical subjects in a foreign language has become, as I believe and I hope I am not mistaken, a need that goes beyond the desires of foreign communities. It has become a need for Saudi citizens as well.”
She said Al-Faris School has adopted the IB program as its educational system through grades K-12 because it enables the student to face life equipped by all needed life skills.