Indicators in the Kingdom reflect the continuing development of education, including an increase in the enrollment rate in education (the net enrollment rate of girls in primary education in 2018 amounted to 98%, which is equal to the net enrollment rate for boys).
Article 30 of the Basic Law of Governance stipulates: "The State shall provide public education and shall be committed to combating illiteracy". Pursuant to Article (2) of the Adult Education and Literacy Law, promulgated by Royal Decree No. (M/22), dated 9/6/1392H, corresponding to 21/7/1972, the goal is to eradicate illiteracy among all citizens from all walks of life. Article (4) of the same Law requires that a comprehensive plan be devised to eradicate illiteracy, based on statistical data on the numbers of illiterates and areas of concentration. Article (11) affirms that adult education and literacy programs are to be free of charge; books, learning materials and visual aids shall also be provided free of charge to students during their time of study. Articles (14) and (16) charge government agencies and public institutions, as well as private companies and organizations, with eradicating illiteracy among their staff in accordance with certain rules and mechanisms. Article (19) provides for the formation of a higher adult education and literacy committee the duties of which, according to Article (20), include adopting a comprehensive plan to eradicate illiteracy, approving and monitoring the implementation of adult education planning policy, proposing new funding sources for literacy projects and obtaining approval from the competent agencies. The said committee will also be responsible for coordinating efforts between ministries, government agencies and private institutions to eradicate illiteracy. The Council of Ministers Decree No. (139), dated 26/4/1425H, corresponding to 15/6/2004, was issued to dictate that public education be free of charge between the ages of 6 and 15. Article (16) of the Kingdom's media policy affirms that "the Saudi media, conscious of its share of responsibility, shall strive to eradicate illiteracy and make it a thing of the past. Acting on scientific and pedagogical bases, it shall direct an appropriate measure of its efforts towards accomplishing this task. It shall make cultural programs appropriate to all inclinations and ages, designed to elevate human thought and sensibility".
Regarding free education, Article 233 of the Kingdom's Public Education Policy Document, promulgated by Council of Ministers Decision No. (779) dated 16-17/9/1389H, corresponding to 26-27/11/1969, affirms that all types of education shall be free of charge at all stages. Article (15) of the same policy, meanwhile, affirms the link between education at all stages and the country's general development plan, designed to achieve a solid partnership between man and woman.
The Kingdom has a number of expatriate community schools, where children are educated in accordance with the curricula in their own countries. These schools operate under the Foreign Schools Regulations, promulgated by Council of Ministers Decision No. (26). There are approximately 1,102,000 male and female non-Saudi students in public education compared to the total number of male and female students enrolled in public education, estimated at 5,802,100 in 2018. The number of male and female non-Saudi students in 2018 amounted to 739,000 in government education stages, 75,000 in private schools and about 288,000 in science education schools, which include curricula from 20 countries. The number of foreign schools in the Kingdom reached 2212 up to 2018. The number of male and female non-Saudi students in government schools amounted to 592,227 at primary, middle and secondary stages (public education stages). The students in this category are educated free of charge, with no discrimination between them and Saudi citizens. In 2013, there were 178 expatriate community schools licensed to operate in the Kingdom distributed over 16 educational districts, teaching more than 100,000 boys and girls.
More than 20 different curricula are being taught in the Kingdom, including American, British, French, Philippine, Australian, Pakistani, Indian, Portuguese, Guinean, Malian, Japanese, Korean, Swedish, Eritrean, Turkish, German, Indonesian, Ghanaian, Italian, Greek, Sri Lankan and others. The Kingdom has also permitted Yemeni and Syrian children to study in its public schools free of charge.