Teaching Leadership to Female Students in Saudi Arabia

By Alexander, Neva Helena | Advancing Women in Leadership, January 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

Teaching Leadership to Female Students in Saudi Arabia


Alexander, Neva Helena, Advancing Women in Leadership


Education in Saudi Arabia has become a great interest to many of its people. Additionally, women's education and leadership have become a dynamic interest to many. This research gives light to how females perceive and their understanding of leadership at Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University (PMU). The central focus of this research project was to evaluate the impact of a leadership course on improving leadership outcomes for female students studying at PMU in Saudi Arabia. In order to achieve this goal, a pre-test/post-test quantitative design was employed. The sample for this investigation was drawn from undergraduate female students enrolled in a leadership course at PMU taught by the researcher.

Keywords: education, leadership, saudi arabia, females in saudi arabia, higher education in saudi arabia, female leadership in saudi arabia, prince mohammad bin fahd university (pmu), middle east, education in the middle east

Introduction

As educators, it is important to know if your students grasp the material being taught. It is also vital to understand the demographic, culture, and population you are teaching. Education in Saudi Arabia has become a great interest to many of its people. Additionally, women's education and leadership have become a dynamic interest to many. This research gives light to how females perceive and their understanding of leadership at Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University (PMU).

Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia extends to approximately 2,250,000 square kilometers (868,730 square miles) between the Arabian Gulf on the east and the Red Sea on the west. With the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain to the east, Saudi Arabia shares borders with Kuwait, Iraq, and Jordan in the north and Yemen and Oman in the south. The largest country in the Middle East is Saudi Arabia, which occupies four fifths of the Arabian Peninsula and is comparable to western Europe in size (Ministry of Higher Education, 2010). Saudi Arabia was established in 1932 by King AbdulAziz Ibn AbdulRahman Al Saud. The country covers about 900,000 square miles. Saudi Arabia is located in southeast Asia with an estimated population of 19 million people. Islam is the official religion, and Arabic is the official language. Many scholarly sources portray women's education, since it started, as being highly valued in Saudi society (Zurbrigg, 1995, p. 82). According to Zawya, (2010) during 2009-2010, the labor force participation rate of women has climbed from 20% to 22% in the Kingdom, the perception of the wage gap for similar work improved, literacy rates improved, and women's enrolment in tertiary education increased from 35% to 37%.

Higher Education in Saudi Arabia

The postsecondary system of education in Saudi Arabia is comparable to the educational system of the United States. However, the patterns and procedures of these educational systems have been adopted in accordance with Islamic systems, traditions, and customs (Ministry of Higher Education, 2010). In 1975, a segment of the Ministry of Education became a separate entity and was renamed the Ministry of Higher Education with the purpose of dealing exclusively with higher education. The Ministry of Higher Education (2010) stated the following:

Among its responsibilities were: Proposing the establishment of higher educational institutions and authorizing them to offer special programs in accordance with the country's needs.

* Creating and administering universities and colleges in the Kingdom.

* Raising the level of communication and coordination between institutions of higher learning and coordinating with other governmental ministries and agencies in terms of their interests and needs in higher education.

* Representing the government abroad in all educational and cultural affairs, through various cultural and educational offices distributed over 32 countries.

According to the Ministry of Higher Education (2010), the Higher Education Council is the supreme authority for postsecondary education affairs with the specific task of supervising and coordinating its institutions, with exceptions of military education. …

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