Arab News – Female students outnumber their male counterparts in the pursuit of higher studies in the government’s foreign scholarship program. According to statistics released recently by the Ministry of Education (MoE), Saudi female students constituted 62.3 percent of the foreign scholarship program, exceeding male students by 12.9 percent between 1431 and 1435 AH.
The statistics further showed that the number of students increased substantially between 1431 and 1435 from 106,095 to 152,032.
The number of students pursuing bachelor’s program abroad has increased from 4,397 students in 1431 to 80,786 in 1435. The number of students pursuing a master’s degree abroad registered a substantial growth with the total number rising from 22,408 students in 1431 to 33,455 students at present.
The number of students pursuing doctoral degrees also
doubled from 5,026 students in 1431 to 10,323 in 1435.
According to data available up to 1435, the students enrolled in undergraduate courses accounted for 58.8 percent, MBA students accounted for 24.4 percent and those at doctoral level accounted for 7.5 percent while the rest are distributed among language learners and students pursuing diploma courses.
Medicine, engineering, business administration, management and law are popular disciplines among students pursuing higher studies abroad in response to the expanding labor market and ongoing rapid economic development.
The countries popular among students were the United States, the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Malaysia, France and Germany.
A Saudi woman must be accompanied by a mahram (a legal guardian) who travels and stays with her until the completion of her studies.
Launched in 2005, the foreign scholarship program is the largest such program in the history of the Kingdom with students studying at premier institutions around the world.
All students sponsored under the scholarship program are provided benefits during their study period abroad which include full tuition, academic supervision, monthly stipend for living expenses, full medical and dental insurance, annual round-trip tickets and financial incentives for a high GPA. Dependents of students receive the same benefits.