Challenges Facing Gifted Students in Saudi Arabia

Saad M. Alamer


Gifted education and general education are inseparable in Saudi Arabia. Gifted students are integrated with other students in public schools. Like regular students, gifted students study the same curriculum, and in many schools they have been taught by non-specialist or untrained teachers of gifted education. In spite of some special programs for gifted children, such as summer enrichment programs and weekend programs, gifted students still face challenges and difficulties in Saudi public schools. This study attempts to explore some of these challenges: a) the nature of the Saudi educational system, (b) the structure of curricula, and (c) the readiness of Saudi teachers to deal with gifted students. The findings show that, though the Saudi educational system has witnessed significant development and has received considerable support from the government, education in Saudi Arabia is still behind global standards. The balance between Islamic and Arabic studies on one hand and scientific subjects (i.e., mathematics and science studies) on the other is still uneven. In addition, the preparation and training programs of Saudi teachers to deal with regular students in general and gifted students in particular need a lot of work from the Ministry of Education and the teachers themselves. The consequences for gifted students as part of the Saudi educational system, as well as further recommendations, are later discussed.

Keywords: gifted students, Saudi educational system, difficulties facing gifted students, religious education.

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