New law requires international schools in Saudi Arabia


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The country’s history and geography must be taught in Saudi Arabian international schools, according to a new rule.
The country’s history and geography must be taught in Saudi Arabian international schools, according to a new rule.
— The bylaw governing how private schools are run in the Kingdom is currently being finalized by the Saudi Ministry of Education.

The history and geography of Saudi Arabia must be taught in private schools that use a foreign curriculum, per the bylaw, a copy of which Okaz/Saudi Gazette has obtained. These schools must include national identity as a subject in their curricula for Saudi pupils. Regulation violators will face harsh penalties, including fines of up to SR 500 000.

It is acceptable for the private and nonprofit sectors to offer educational services during different stages of general education by enforcing quality standards, raising the bar of performance, and enhancing outcomes via private schools.

A current professional license from the Saudi Education and Training Evaluation Commission is necessary for teachers at private schools.

According to the rules, applicants for a license to operate international schools may be Saudis or foreign investors. Foreign investors and Saudis can both apply together under a partnership arrangement. Entities with a public interest may also seek for a license.

The new bylaw stipulates that the applicant must get the business registration required to engage in the activity in advance and cannot have previously been subject to disciplinary action while working for a public or private school.

If the applicant is a foreign investor, they must also show that they have prior experience providing educational services and that they have secured a license from the Ministry of Investment. The investment license must include services and programs for education.

After getting authorization from Ministry of education, the owner of the facility may transfer the licensing right to another person who meets the requirements within three months or by the end of the school year, whichever comes first, if they fail to meet one of the conditions outlined in the bylaw.

The new bylaw requires private schools to establish rules for tuition fees and the method for collecting them, as well as to designate a principal and qualified instructional and administrative staff in accordance with the size of the school.

A private school may ask for a change to the academic calendar in compliance with the guidelines established by the Ministry of Education. A balance sheet of income and expenses must be created and deposited in a designated account in the case that schools get rewards, financial loans, or subsidies.

The bylaw stipulates that violations of its terms and conditions, disrespect for the Islamic faith, Saudi Arabia, its rulers, and public figures, as well as violations of the intellectual security of society or the standards for health and safety are all serious offenses.

The violators will be subjected to penalties. Depending on the circumstances of the pupils throughout the academic year, there may be one or several punishments. A warning is given along with the suspension of future admissions until the infraction is fixed, which must be done within 14 days of the warning notice being given. The school could be subject to a fine of up to SR500,000, permanent closure, license revocation, and deportation of the principal or any other teachers.

When determining the penalties, consideration is given to the severity of the offense and its frequency. Additionally taken into account are the school’s size, the caliber of its outputs, and its community involvement in trying circumstances. Within one month of a decision about fines being issued, an appeal to the minister is allowed.


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