Vocational education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The education and training systems in many Muslim countries have remained traditional and resistant to innovation. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has attempted to innovate whilst preserving worthwhile traditions through introducing a system of administration which combines the modern and the traditional. The attempt has been only partiy successful. This thesis attempts to throw some light on the main reasons for the technical/industrial education system in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remaining weak. Chapter one looks into the historical background of education in the Arabian peninsula from the period before Islam until the emergence of Saudi Arabia. An attempt has been made to trace the main historical events which may have some significant effects on the status of the education and training system. Chapter two presents the contemporary education and training system in the country and highlights the effects of the weak relations and coordination between the various training establishments. Chapter three examines the Government's policies towards technical/industrial education through studying the five Development Plans (1970 to 1995), which explains the effects of separate planning for economy and education. Chapter four analyses the general concept of vocational education in the West as well as the Islamic notions. Some of the most important reasons for devaluation of the vocational education provision in the West and in the Islamic world have been discussed. Chapter five presents a historical sketch of the education and training system in England and extracts some lessons from its experience. Chapter six presents empirical evidence of weakness of technical/industrial education through the field work carried out in the industrial institutes in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The overall summary of the thesis and the conclusions drawn from the present study are presented in chapter seven. The traditional view of education was found to be the most important among the various reasons concluded for the weakness of the education and training system in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It held back the education system in isolation from social and economic developments and deprived its graduates from effective participation in the development process of the country. The thesis recommended a comprehensive and constructive integration of the modern and traditional models in the Kingdom. To achieve this comprehensive and constructive integration, extensive and broad changes of attitudes and ways of thinking are required from the policy makers of the educational system in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.