Saudi Arabia

  • Compulsory education begins at the age of 6 and ends at the age of 14 in Saudi Arabia. The range of ages for which at least 90% of the population are enrolled is longer than the period of compulsory education and goes from the age of 7 to the age of 17. This is similar to most OECD countries, where more than 90% of the population are also enrolled for longer than the period of compulsory education.

  • In Saudi Arabia, the large majority of tertiary students (95%) are enrolled in public educational institutions (OECD average: 71%), while only a small portion are enrolled in private institutions (5%). The share of tertiary students enrolled in private institutions in Saudi Arabia remained the same between 2013 and 2020 (Figure 1).

  • Enrolment rates are lower among the population aged 25 and above. In Saudi Arabia, 12% of the 25-29 year-olds (at the same level as the OECD average) and 1% of 30-39 year-olds were enrolled in tertiary education in 2020.

  • In 2020, foreign students represented 4% of all tertiary students in Saudi Arabia, 1 percentage point below the value in 2015 and 3 percentage points below the OECD total in 2020. In Saudi Arabia, 43% of foreign students enrolled in tertiary education comes from neighbouring countries.


OECD (2022), Education at a Glance 2022: OECD Indicators, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2022), “Regional education”, OECD Regional Statistics (database),

For more information on Education at a Glance 2022 and to access the full set of Indicators, see:

For more information on the methodology used during the data collection for each indicator, the references to the sources and the specific notes for each country, See Annex 3 (

For general information on the methodology, please refer to the OECD Handbook for Internationally Comparative Education Statistics: Concepts, Standards, Definitions and Classifications (

Updated data can be found on line at and by following the StatLinks under the tables and charts in the publication.

Data on subnational regions for selected indicators are available in the OECD Regional Statistics (database) (OECD, 2022). When interpreting the results on subnational entities, readers should take into account that the population size of subnational entities can vary widely within countries. For example, regional variation in enrolment may be influenced by students attending school in a different region from their area of residence, particularly at higher levels of education. Also, regional disparities tend to be higher when more subnational entities are used in the analysis.

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The data on educational responses during COVID-19 were collected and processed by the OECD based on the Joint Survey on National Responses to COVID-19 School Closures, a collaborative effort conducted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS); the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF); the World Bank; and the OECD.

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