MBS plans overhaul of Saudi education system to boost workforce

Saudi Arabia is planning to overhaul its education system to better align outcomes with the needs of the jobs market.

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman attends the 14th Islamic summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Mecca
The overhaul is part of the 'Vision 2030' strategy from Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to diversify the oil-dependent economy [File: Waleed Ali/Reuters]

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince plans to overhaul the kingdom’s flagging education system to foster values including tolerance and hard work, and better prepare citizens to find jobs.

The revamp will cover all levels of education, from early childhood to adult learning opportunities, according to a summary of the Human Capability Development Program announced by the official Saudi Press Agency on Wednedsay.

The program aims to better align the kingdom’s educational outcomes with the labor market’s needs as unemployment hovers at 11.7%. Other objectives include fostering values like moderation, perseverance and a “hard-work culture,” it said.

The overhaul is part of Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Vision 2030” strategy to diversify the oil-dependent economy. It’s also a sign that he wants to soften the kingdom’s reputation as an ultra-conservative Islamic state.

Saudi Arabia’s public schools have long been a bastion of the tenets preached by its religious establishment, such as strict gender segregation. Prince Mohammed has been loosening social restrictions and has called for citizens to follow a more “moderate” path of Islam, even as he cracks down on domestic critics.

Source: Bloomberg