The academic years in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are divided into three stages, followed by the university stage, and it does not differ significantly with the educational stages in the rest of the Arab countries, as the study begins from the first stage (kindergarten) and then moves to the primary stage, followed by the preparatory (intermediate) stage, and then after that The secondary stage that ends and leads to the transition to higher education, which includes study at the university and institutes.
The educational stages in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The first stage before basic education
Some believe that this stage is not considered one of the important educational stages, due to its specialization in children between the ages of 3 to 6 years, which is considered non-compulsory education, and this stage is known as the kindergarten stage, through which the child is taught the letters of the Arabic and English spelling and numbers in Arabic and English , He is also taught how to write them.
This is considered the first stage of general education, as the student starts the elementary stage from the age of 6 years and stays in this stage for six years, and among the most important subjects that are taught to the student at this stage are the Arabic language, the Holy Quran, the Prophet’s biography, mathematics, science, and English.
In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the student graduates from the primary stage at the age of twelve and then begins the preparatory stage, and the student studies for a period of three years, where the student is taught in this period all the previous subjects that were mentioned in the primary stage, but with greater expansion and specialization.
The student graduates from the preparatory stage at the age of fifteen, after which the secondary stage begins, which is three years. , The Holy Quran, Chemistry, Physics, Science, Mathematics, and Psychology.
As for the beginning of the second year of the secondary stage, the student begins to specialize. Either he chooses the literary section in which he studies lost literary subjects, or he chooses the scientific section in which he studies only scientific subjects.
The stage of higher education
The last stage of the study process in the Kingdom ends with the stage of higher education, as what is meant by this stage is the stage of university education where the education and the duration of study in it varies according to the specialization and the faculty that the student will enter, and the student graduates from the secondary stage and he has completed eighteen years of age to start the university education stage with him And if education was compulsory in the previous educational stages, then it is not mandatory in the university education stage, but it is one of the important stages of the life and future of the student in the world.
This stage begins with a bachelor’s degree, then a master’s degree, and then a doctorate degree. There are approximately 33 universities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia affiliated with higher education.
Stages of development of educational curricula in Saudi Arabia
The educational curricula in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have gone through various stages of development, as this development relied on undertaking various development projects, in the belief of the Kingdom’s crown princes on the importance of education in building societies and their prosperity. Educational, and among these projects:
First: The Comprehensive Project for Curriculum Improvement and Development:
This project aims to develop school curricula according to the latest contemporary educational and educational methods. A plan has been developed to implement this project according to several successive stages:
The first phase: This phase extended from the year 1419 AH to the year 1422 AH, as it included the preparation and planning of the comprehensive project completely through studying the reality and existing data.
The second phase: This phase extended from the year 1422 AH to the year 1425 AH. This phase included preparing the curriculum, drawing up plans, and working to determine the adequacy of the educational staff.
The third phase: This phase extended from the year 1425 AH to the year 1428 AH. At this stage, work was done on writing textbooks, after a training phase and preparation of specialized authors.
The fourth phase: This phase extended from the year 1428 AH to the year 1432 AH. At this stage, all that had been reached in the previous phases was tested, where all ministerial sectors participated to generalize what was reached through the studies and research conducted, after avoiding the errors and problems that had appeared. During study and experimentation periods.
Fifth phase: This phase extended from the year 1430 AH to the year 1433 AH. At this stage, all the findings of the comprehensive project were circulated to all educational institutions and schools in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Sixth stage: In this stage, appropriate measures have been taken to continue the process of evaluation and development of curricula.
Second: King Abdullah’s Project to Improve Education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:
It is one of the largest educational projects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where the great desire and will to develop and improve education in general in the Kingdom appeared through this project, in order to pay attention to building an educated and educated generation capable of competing with all societies in the world. In addition to curriculum development, the project was also concerned with the professional development of teaching personnel, as well as improving the school environment for students, adding extra-curricular activities to support the curriculum, employing information technology to develop educational curricula and building and modernizing school buildings in line with modern education methods.
Among the most important points addressed by the King Abdullah Project for Curriculum Development:
- Arabic language development programs that depend on the use of methods and strategies and focus on practical activities to improve students’ level of language skills in general so that they can use them in their working lives and enhance their love for the language and its productions, in addition to developing the capabilities of Arabic language teachers.
- English language development programs that work to enrich students with communication skills in the English language and to use them in their daily and professional lives in the future.
- Computer learning development programs that work to increase teachers ’competencies in this field and the authoring of computer and information technology curricula that provide for the inclusion of student books and activity books in addition to teacher guides.
Third: The Project to Improve Curricula in Natural Sciences and Mathematics:
The project sought to compose and issue textbooks and educational means complementary to them for the subjects of mathematics and natural sciences for all countries that participated in the Arab Bureau of Education project for the Gulf States by relying on translating an international series of textbooks for the subjects of natural sciences and mathematics while ensuring their suitability in proportion to the countries Sharing.
Steps that were followed to implement the project:
- Preparing the study plan for each of the mathematics and science subjects to be approved by the Arab Bureau of Education for the Gulf States and the Ministries of Education in the countries that participated in the project.
- Preparing textbooks and all educational materials.
- Designing and printing textbooks.
- Issuing educational materials and electronic materials.
- Developing the capabilities of educational staff and curriculum experts in all ministries of education for the countries that participated in the Arab Education Office for the Gulf States project.
In the book “ Making the School Book ” (Professor Dr. Ahmed Al-Hussein, 1438 AH) set out the most important features that help in developing textbooks and educational curricula, namely:
- Suitability of textbooks to be suitable for both girls and boys.
- For each subject, a student book and activities book are included, in addition to a teacher’s guide.
- Textbooks focus on self-education and the development of critical and creative thinking, reasoning and problem-solving skills.
- Use practical performance activities to link information with real life.
- Using new teaching methods and modern teaching methods.
- Achieving succession and integration in academic subjects, so the Arabic language subject of literary grammar, texts, expression, dictation and calligraphy was merged into one subject with a book called (My Language) in the first grades of the elementary stage, and a book (My Beautiful Language) for the higher grades of the same stage, and the middle grades have a book my immortal language).
- The subjects of behavior and jurisprudence from the Islamic education curriculum were combined in the first grades of the elementary stage, and the two subjects of Hadith and Biography were merged in one book. Also, the Noble Qur’an and the Tajweed subject were combined in the upper grades of the elementary school, and in the intermediate phase the Noble Qur’an and its interpretation.
- Including Islamic values and positive trends in textbooks to teach good citizenship and effective productive work to maintain health, safety, the homeland, the environment and peace.
- Geography, history and national education subjects were integrated into the Social and National Education book, and two classes were allocated to it per week instead of three in the elementary stage, and three classes instead of five in the intermediate stage, where it was called Social and National Studies.
- The inclusion of a computer subject in the middle school.
- Author of a book on professional and artistic education.
- Writing a book on physical education, as this material has been lacking in the book since its inclusion.
- And finally, the merger of the Ministries of Education and Higher Education, due to the progress achieved by this step in the field of education.