Fees for non-Saudis at state schools



CITIZENS have the right to a free education. It is illogical to provide a free education to non-Saudis and put them on equal footing with Saudis. I am not trying to discriminate against non-Saudis. However, we need to impose fees on non-Saudi students as most countries around the world impose fees on students who are not nationals of their countries.

Over 1 million non-Saudi students study in our public schools. They have full access to school facilities and get free books. These high-quality services should be offered for an annual fee, something that would generate cash to develop the Kingdom’s education sector. This money could contribute to the budgets allocated to the Ministry of Education and increase non-oil revenue, especially since the Kingdom is working to diversify its sources of income.

Fees imposed on non-Saudi students should not be restricted to those students in public schools. They should also include non-Saudi students in private schools. Private schools allocate a portion of their income which is generated by non-Saudis for the development of the Kingdom’s education sector. This also falls under our corporate social responsibility. In fact, it is a national duty that private schools help support the sector. While it is true that private schools are owned by citizens, these schools benefit from the public services around them such as roads, street lights, water networks, etc.

Expatriate workers who live and work in the Kingdom and enjoy full safety and security should pay fees for each son or daughter who goes to a public school. The money could be used to finance projects and contribute to improving the quality of life of all of our citizens. Expatriate workers realize that the governments in their own countries impose fees on foreigners. It is high time the Kingdom imposed fees on them as well.

The economic conditions of the Kingdom have changed and so have the challenges. We have a vision that we need to realize and which requires that we reassess everything to ensure its success.