International education experts have praised the new Saudi national ranking system, the Saudi Global Ranking (SGR), as a means of fine-tuning traditional local universities’ progress toward socio-economic development.
The Education and Training Evaluation Commission (ETEC) introduced the ranking system on 20 March. The SGR is part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 Human Capability Development Program. Saudi Arabia is the sixth Arab nation, after Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Iraq and Jordan, to develop a university ranking system.
The national universities ranking systems are consistent with recommendations from a 2022 study entitled The Performance of Higher Education Institutions in the Arab World from a Strategic Perspective: Challenges and Possible Solutions, which emphasized the importance of local performance evaluations rather than relying solely on global indicators and mechanisms.
The Education and Training Evaluation Commission (ETEC) introduced the ranking system on 20 March
Professor Abeer Al-Harbi, General Manager of Ranking Programs at ETEC, explained that SGR is a mechanism for measuring the performance of higher education institutions in Saudi Arabia to highlight their strengths and potential areas for improvement.
The indicators include quality of teaching and learning (four sub-indicators that make up 45% of institutional scores); research and knowledge transfer (two sub-indicators that constitute 30%); community partnerships and sustainability (two sub-indicators that form 15%); and internationalization (two sub-indicators that comprise 10%).
SGR is a mechanism for measuring the performance of higher education institutions in Saudi Arabia
The Saudi ranking system performance sub-indicators include educational outcomes, educational environment, accreditation, employability, research outputs, knowledge transfer, community contribution activity, sustainability, international activity, and student/faculty exchange. There are also specific sub-indicators based on specific Saudi requirements, such as universities’ socio-economic and developmental effects through producing market-ready graduates and volunteering, as well as entrepreneurial activity and patent licensing agreements with local organizations.
The SGR will encourage Saudi universities to work on updating their systems and strategic plans along with supporting areas and indicators that are directly related to the national ranking performance indicators.