Saudi Arabia Brings Home 512 International Students Because of Poor Performance

September 21, 2008

The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Higher Education has recalled 512 students studying at universities overseas and expelled them from the country’s international-scholarship program because of weak performance and poor attendance records, according to a report on the Saudi Gazette Web site.

Over the past four years, the ministry has paid for 42,000 Saudi students to be educated abroad as part of the King Abdullah Scholarship Program, which is designed to allow Saudi students to attend specialized programs not offered by the country’s higher-education system, especially in fields for which there is great demand in the Saudi labor market.

The recent recall of students seems to confirm reports that some Saudi students were struggling at foreign institutions. As a result, the ministry is trying to lift the performance of Saudi students abroad by requiring students to attend an extensive orientation course before they head off. The course, which is intended to prepare students for demanding international programs, will last three months to a year, depending on the student’s success, said Abdullah Al-Mousa, undersecretary for scholarships. —Andrew Mills