Saudi Arabia has approved executive regulation to open foreign university branches.
The decision to allow foreign universities to operate in Saudi Arabia is driven by many factors, especially to offer high-quality higher education to Saudi students and to attract reputed universities to build an ecosystem of high-quality teaching and research in the country. Overall, opening foreign university campuses plays a large role in the country’s economic, cultural, and social development.
To diversify the university education sector and meet the goals of developing scientific research, the Saudi Council of Universities Affairs, headed by Minister of Education Yousef Al-Benyan, approved the executive regulation for establishing branches of foreign universities in the kingdom.
The foreign university branches in the kingdom will be monitored and regulated and shall be made per the university system and any amendments made to it. It also states that the language of instruction will be in the first language approved at the foreign university unless it requires the provision of education in another language.
Moreover, the academic certificates granted by the university branch to its graduates must be issued and accredited by the designated foreign university.
In the past few years, there has been evidence that Saudi Arabia’s leading universities are moving towards a policy of increased international collaboration. King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, established in 2009, has collaborative ventures with over 20 universities globally.