Health and education are two of the most important indicators of the well-being of countries. Therefore, it is noticeable seen that the successful countries are pay close attention to these two fields. The countries that have high levels of education and health are more likely to have high economies and higher standard of living. As it was mentioned in the previous blog, there is a direct relation between education and birth rate. When more people are educated, the country is more likely to have lower birth rate. Needless to say, the low birth rate is better for the economic growth.
Saudi Arabia is one of the countries that heavily invested in health and education. The health and education in this country are very high compared to other Middle Eastern and North African countries (MENA). The Saudi government allocates a large part of its budget for these two fields. In 2015, health and education represented 44 per cent of the total government spending. In 2016, almost one third of the country’s budget goes to the fields of health and education. In fact, in the last few decades, the country recorded very high improvements in these two fields. Saudi Arabia is listed among the Very High Human Development group according to Human Development Index (HDI).
Health in Saudi Arabia:
The healthcare in Saudi Arabia faced a dramatic improvement in the last few decades. In 1940s, the country had scarcity even in the number of doctors. In that period, there were only 111 doctors and less than 100 hospital beds in the entire country. Since that time, the government realized how important the field of health is in term of political and economic structures of the country. Therefore, the government started increasing the its spending on this field. By the year 1998, the number of doctors has spectacularly increased to reach 14407 doctors. Moreover, at the same year, there were 27428 hospital beds.
The healthcare in Saudi Arabia faced a dramatic improvement in the last few decades. In 1940s, the country had scarcity even in the number of doctors. In that period, there were only 111 doctors and less than 100 hospital beds in the entire country. Since that time, the government realized how important the field of health is in terms of political and economic structures of the country. Therefore, the government started increasing the its spending on this field. By the year 1998, the number of doctors has spectacularly increased to reach 14407 doctors. Moreover, at the same year, there were 27428 hospital beds.
As a result of this huge improvement in the field of healthcare, the life expectancy in Saudi Arabia spectacularly increased. In 1970s, the average life expectancy of Saudi Males was 50.9 years and 53 years for females. However, in 2013, the average life expectancy of males reached 74 years and 77 years for females (World Health Rankings, 2013).
The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in Saudi Arabia is low compare to the other MENA countries. As in 2015, the IMR in Saudi Arabia is 14.09 infant deaths in every 1,000 live infants. This number seems to be very high when it is compared to a country like the United States, which is 5.87 per 1,000. However, it is actually very low if it is compared to other MENA countries. The IMR in Iran, for instance, is 38.04 average infants death in every 1,000 infants, which is almost twice the number in Saudi Arabia (CIA, 2015).
Education in Saudi Arabia:
Education is one of the most important fields in Saudi Arabia. The government spends almost the quarter of the country’s total budget on education. Today, almost all Saudi youth are educated. In fact, the government highly encouraged people to be educated. It provides free education service starting from elementary education to the highest level of education. The flourish period of education started in the year 2005 when King Abdullah Al-Saud came to power. He was very interested in the field of education. in 2005, there were only eight universities in Saudi Arabia. However, by 2010, the number of universities in the country was quadrupled to be thirty two (“Higher Education in Saudi Arabia”).
Moreover, in 2005, the number of students who were sent to study abroad was only 3000 students. However, by the year 2015, there are almost 200 thousands Saudi students all over the world (Ahmed, 2015). The country spent more than $40 billion in training and education(“Higher Education in Saudi Arabia”).
In Saudi Arabia, the youth literacy rate is very high among both males and females. In 1972, the illiteracy rate in this country was about 60 per cent (“Saudi Arabia’s literacy rate”). however, in 2013, the youth male literacy rate was 99.30, while the youth female literacy rate was 99.14. In Saudi Arabia, the adult literacy rate is very high compared to the other countries in MENA region (Index Mundi, 2013). In 2010, the adult literacy rate was 98 per cent.
In Saudi Arabia, there is a dramatic increase in the number of children enrolled in primary education. In 1990, the students who enrolled in primary education was only 84.5 percent. However, the number faced a high increased to reach 97 percent. Moreover, the women education in Saudi Arabia has improved. In the past, women in Saudi Arabia were not allowed to go to the school. The norm and culture of this country suggested that the right place for women is their houses. However, today, the situation has totally changed. Since that time, the government has encouraged the education of women. Now, women are a very important actors in the society. They have the same educational right as men (Drury, 2015).
Ahmed, M. (2015). Saudi students abroad – University World News. Retrieved February 19, 2016, from http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20151208190817896
- CIA. (2015). INFANT MORTALITY RATE. Retrieved February 18, 2016, from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2091rank.html
- Drury, S. (2015). Education: The Key to Women’s Empowerment in Saudi Arabia? Retrieved February 19, 2016, from http://www.mei.edu/content/article/education-key-women’s-empowerment-saudi-arabia
Higher Education in Saudi Arabia 2005 – 2010. (2011). Retrieved February 19, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Y5FGQBYI8s
- Human Development Index. (2013). Retrieved February 18, 2016, from http://www.geohive.com/earth/gen_hdi.aspx
Index Mundi. (2013). Saudi Arabia – Literacy rate. Retrieved February 19, 2016, from http://www.indexmundi.com/facts/saudi-arabia/literacy-rateSaudi Arabia’s literacy rate reaches 96 per cent. (2013).ndtv. Retrieved February 19, 2016, from http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/saudi-arabias-literacy-rate-reaches-96-per-cent-534371Sebai, Z. A., Milaat, W. A., & Al-Zulaibani, A. A. (2001). HEALTH CARE SERVICES IN SAUDI ARABIA: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE. Retrieved February 19, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3439740/
- World Health Rankings(2013). EALTH PROFILE SAUDI ARABIA. Retrieved February 18, 2016, from http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/country-health-profile/saudi-arabia