Number of Saudi universities in top global rankings leaps to 14

Three of the kingdom’s top higher education establishments climbed in the league tables as education reforms continue to bear fruit

Al Majmaah University. SPA
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Five universities in Saudi Arabia have been added to the QS World University Rankings 2022, bringing the number of the kingdom’s higher education establishments on the list to 14.

Three institutions – King Abdulaziz University, King Saud University and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals – moved up the list.

Education reforms are part of the Ministry of Education’s efforts to improve standards as part of Vision 2030, a far-reaching economic development plan.

In 2019, there were nine universities on the list.

Saudi citizens who have first-hand experience of the country’s education system told The National they could hardly believe the rapid progress its institutions had made.

“If you look back just 10 years ago, there’s no way we could imagine such a leap in education reforms, let alone our universities ranking high globally,” said Hala Alghamdi, an educator in Jeddah.

“It is a huge win for the government and Ministry of Education, but most importantly for parents who seek to send their children to top universities abroad but now have the option at home,” she said.

“We would rather send our children to Saudi universities as they would like to thrive here eventually, and I have to say the next generation is going to witness the best time in the country thanks to our current leadership.”

King Saud University moved up 80 positions from its 2019 ranking in engineering and technology, and now sits at 185 globally.

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. Getty Images

King Abdulaziz University’s ranking in the same subject rose to 51st in the world, up from 125 in 2019, taking it into the world’s top 100 international universities in the field of engineering and technology.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2022 had already ranked King Abdulaziz University as the best higher education establishment in the Middle East.

In another big jump up the league tables, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals was ranked 87th in the list of the top 100 universities in engineering and technology, climbing 83 places from its ranking in the 2019 QS index.

“What’s amazing is that Saudi universities are offering more courses, diverse subjects with specialisation opportunities,” said Lulwah Hamdan, a Saudi doctor in Jeddah.

“My brother is doing engineering, my sister is studying coding and tech. I myself am a graduate from King Abdulaziz University. We feel proud of our country and it is further strengthens your belief in the education system – the fact that it is making progress when it is being recognised globally.”

Updated: April 14, 2022, 6:42 PM