Achieve universal primary education

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 Achieve_education Achieve primary education (Poster by: Maram Taibah)

Education is a main pillar of economic and social development and the most important factor for its sustainability. If the ultimate goal of development in a developed society is to improve human welfare, then this goal cannot be attained without educated, productive citizens and individuals commitment to human values and ideals. Providing access to educational services and enabling citizens to derive full benefits from them is, therefore, one of the landmarks on the road to human development, since education expands the scope of options and skills necessary for creating a productive citizen.  

Based on this concept, the Kingdom paid special attention to the education sector and endeavoured to provide education to all citizens, with the share of the expenditure on education amounting to 8.7% of the GDP in 2009. As a result, adult (15 years old and above) literacy reached 87.4% and youth (15-24 years old) literacy reached 98% in 2010. 

Primary schooling is the most crucial stage since it determines, to a great extent, the future educational course of pupils. Total primary school enrollment in 2010 amounted to about 3.32 million pupils in 13,102 schools all over the Kingdom. In the same year, the number of new pupils in primary education amounted to about 577.7 thousand pupils. The average annual growth rate of enrolment over the period 2005-2010 amounted to 1.44%. It is worth noting that the public sector remains the main provider of educational services, with a share of 91% of total enrolment in primary schooling and 89.4% of total enrolment in all stages of public education in 2010. 

The proportion of first graders who reach grade 5 was 98.3% in 2010, which indicates the marked progress made over the preceding decade. Primary education gross enrolment rate rose from 82% in 1990 to 106% in 2010, while net enrolment rate in primary education stood at 96.6% in 2010. This testifies to the considerable achievement made and points to the fact that the Kingdom will be able to ensure that all children, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling ahead of the target year of 2015. 

In order to attain universal primary education and increase enrolment rates in all other levels of education, a number of measures and policies have been adopted, not only to guarantee education for all throughout the Kingdom, but also to improve and maintain the quality of education in the Kingdom. Among such measures and policies, are the following: 

  1. Enforcing mandatory primary education, as per the decision taken in 2004.

  2. Establishing more kindergartens throughout the country and intensifying family awareness and guidance programs regarding the importance of pre-school education. 

  3. Developing mechanisms for involvement of parents in monitoring children’s activities, as well as school management and teaching staff performance. 

  4. Early identification of children with special needs and provision of appropriate education and rehabilitation for them. 

  5. Addressing the economic and social constraints that impede enrolment of children from low-income groups at different education stages. It is worth noting, however, that education is provided free of charge at all stages. 

  6. Intensifying programs, in educational curricula and the family and the society at large, aimed at raising awareness of the importance of educational attainment. 

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