Menlo Alum Named Minister of Education

Prince Faisal bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Saud, a 1972 alumnus of Menlo College's famed School of Business Administration, has been appointed as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Minister of Education. He is the first member of the ruling family to head the Ministry.

Saudi Arabia's nationwide public educational system comprises 14 universities, more than 30,000 schools, and a large number of colleges and other educational and training institutions. Open to every citizen, the system provides students with free education, books and health services.

The government allocates over 25 percent of the annual State budget for education including vocational training. General education in the Kingdom consists of kindergarten, six years of primary school and three years each of intermediate and high school. The Ministry of Education sets overall standards for the country's educational system and also oversees special education for the handicapped.

After elementary education, students can attend either high school offering programs in the arts and sciences, or vocational schools. Students' progress through high school is determined by comprehensive exams conducted twice a year and supervised by the Ministry of Education. The Kingdom's ratio of 15 students to every teacher is one of the lowest in the world.

Today, there are around 300,000 students at Saudi universities and colleges, a dramatic improvement over the 7,000 students enrolled in 1970. Of that number, more than one half are female students.

“This most prestigious appointment is well deserved and Prince Faisal's success is critical to the future of the Kingdom,” said President Timothy Haight. “We are very proud indeed to have him as our alumnus.”

Menlo College has been a destination campus for outstanding Saudi students for more than 50 years. Among many recognizable Saudi Arabian alumni of note is HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, included in Time Magazine's “100 of the World's Most Influential People,” as Founder and Chairman of Kingdom Holding Company.

The College extends warm congratulations to Prince Faisal and wishes him the best of luck in his prominent role in governing Saudi Arabia's education.