The Saudi authorities announced updates to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Scholarship Program in early March, sharing its purpose of sending 70,000 college students overseas by 2030.
However the brand new program will not fund English language research in English-speaking international locations together with America, the UK and Canada – a major change from Saudi Arabia’s earlier scholarships.
Anders Ahlund, president of gross sales and advertising and marketing at EF language schools, mentioned that Saudi Arabia is a vital marketplace for the corporate and that the exclusion of ESL is “disappointing to the trade in search of post-covid restoration”.
Nevertheless, he added that the brand new scholarship is “very beneficiant” and “will improve scholar mobility”.
“Many of the Saudi college students that research within the US are sponsored, and these college students will possible not proceed in the event that they lose authorities assist”
The Saudi Arabian authorities has mentioned the brand new program is appropriate with different scholarships, however it’s unclear if the prevailing paths will proceed on the identical scale.
“Many of the Saudi college students that research within the US are sponsored, and these college students will possible not proceed in the event that they lose authorities assist.”
The King Abdullah Scholarship Program, launched in 2005, despatched over 10,000 college students to the US in its first yr, with 95% of scholarship college students present process a yr of English language coaching.
— SPAENG (@Spa_Eng) March 7, 2022
“Within the heyday of the KASP program, this system appeared to function extra as an entitlement than a scholarship, and FLS, along with many faculties, had a really massive Saudi inhabitants in any respect of our centres,” Frerichs mentioned.
However KASP has turn out to be much less beneficiant over time, with stricter necessities introduced in 2016 lowering the variety of eligible college students. The Kingdom famously pulled its scholarship assist for college students in Canada in 2018, following a diplomatic spat after Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland criticised Saudi Arabia’s human rights report.
In a current press convention, Hamad Al-Sheikh, the nation’s minister of schooling, mentioned that English language preparation can be supplied domestically, together with at Saudi universities.
Beneath the brand new program, college students will likely be divided into 4 streams, together with the “supplier path” which can facilitate scholarships to the highest 200 instructional establishments on the planet.
“The need to put the perfect Saudi college students into the perfect universities on the planet is a worthy authorities program,” mentioned Frerichs.
“However I additionally hope and imagine that the Saudi authorities will see the good thing about persevering with to assist their residents that may profit from attending a college that’s not among the many elite, and likewise the required language coaching to assist that research.”