Education is free at all levels, but it is not compulsory to attend school. About. 60% of children and young people receive formal education. Different educational systems operate side by side, the public school has about half the pupils. Religious and other private schools follow essentially the same scheme as the public schools. It is forbidden for girls and boys to be taught together, and there are separate educational systems for boys and girls.
The primary school is 6 years old from the children are 6 years old, followed by 3-year secondary school and 3-year high school. The country has 8 universities, which are open to both genders, although the teaching takes place separately for men and women. Arabic is the language of instruction in primary and secondary school. Higher education is taught in Arabic or English.
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According to UNESCO, approx. 22% (2002) of the adult population are illiterate.
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2003 The US “war on terror” triggers a wave of terror
The US invasion of Iraq in March 2003 had disastrous consequences for the equilibrium around the Persian Gulf and led to rapid growth in the number of suicide attacks in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. In May 2003, a series of suicide attacks killed 30 people in a residential area for foreigners in the capital Riyadh. Another suicide attack in November cost 17 lives. The attacks continued in 2004, and in April, the first attack so far was directed at a public building when a car bomb was detonated in front of the Security Service headquarters. A month later, in the port city of Yanboa, there was an exchange of gunfire between Saudi security forces and people identified as terrorists.
In May 2003, the United States officially announced that all North American bases in Saudi Arabia would be closed and crew and equipment transferred to Qatar. It was the superpower’s punishment for Saudi Arabia’s unwillingness to take part in the assault on Iraq.
In late 2003, the authorities announced that elections would be held for the first time in the country’s history. There would be municipal elections, and according to. they would aim for the official comunique: “to increase citizen participation in local politics through strengthening local councils”. In March 2004, it was announced that women would have the right not only to vote but also to stand as candidates. The announcement came well enough from the Saudi embassy in London, but at the same time emphasized that both men and women “would have the opportunity to vote”.
On May 29, 2004, three assaults took place in Riyadh, carried out by Saudi Arabian al-Qaeda. They cost dozens – mostly foreigners – life. The Al-Khobar oil center was attacked, as was the local OPEC headquarters and Hotel Oasis Resort, which most people considered to be an impassable fortress.
In June, two suspected Islamists and a policeman died during an exchange of gunfire in Riyadh. Two other people were injured during the gunfire that took place in al-Quds in the eastern part of the capital. In the first weeks of the month, Saudi security forces were exposed to a series of attacks by suspected al-Qaeda activists. Over 80 were killed.
That same month, King Fahd declared amnesty for people suspected of terrorism if they surrendered to authorities by the end of July. The comuniquet was broadcast on television and applied to all persons who had “committed crimes with religious motives” and all who within the following “30 days would be accounted for by God’s law”.
The amnesty was decreed after al-Qaeda’s leader in Riyadh, Abdul Aziz al-Muqrin, was killed in a clash with police. Acc. the Islamic law, sharia, anyone who commits violence can receive amnesty, but then has to pay compensation to the victim’s family to avoid punishment. Political observers were of the belief that the amnesty offer was aimed at lower al-Qaeda members, while the leadership team would reject it.