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JEDDAH: The number of expatriate students enrolled in international schools in Saudi Arabia has dropped by 25 percent, according to a report published in Al Watan newspaper.
The newspaper reports that the drop is due to economic fluctuations in the country, but adds that the percentage is expected to rise so that 50 percent of expatriate students are enrolled in international schools by the end of this year.
Reforms being carried out by government ministries and departments are expected to trigger the rise.
Ziad Al-Rahma, vice chairman of the National Committee for International Education at the Council of Saudi Chambers, was quoted as saying that the economic conditions had a particular influence over those with medium-to-high-paying jobs like specialists and engineers.
Some schools will most likely close as a result of the fees imposed on renewing licenses by the Labor Office, he said, adding that the Saudization of the job market is also an obstacle to these schools.
The Ministry of Labor is seeking to Saudize the sector by 70 percent despite schools claiming that it is difficult to find qualified Saudi teachers.
Al-Rahma said that some school owners have decided to operate as private, not international, schools as they believe their institutions have already met the standards required by the Ministry of Education.

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