Learning English in Saudi Arabia – Economy, Social and Political

In terms of the economy, researchers Mahboob and Elyas (2014) emphasized that English has been particularly important in the Saudi education system because of its perceived economic value, as the language is linked inextricably with the discourse of petroleum. Therefore, English is taught as a core subject in public and private schools and is used as the medium of training in major organizations and companies across the country, such as Saudi Airlines, Saudi Aramco, the Saudi Telecommunication Company, etc.

In separate research, Alrashidi and Phan (2015) stated that learning English allows Saudis to benefit from its use as the medium of international communication, and to contribute thereby to the expanding economy and business environment of the KSA. According to them, English has enabled Saudis to communicate with approximately 9.5 million foreign expatriates who work in Saudi Arabia, which is necessary to acquire the competence they need to be qualified and ready to replace foreign expatriates in the labor market. Furthermore, English also plays a key role in the enhancement of foreign investments in Saudi Arabia. 

Politically, learning English has enabled the KSA to communicate with the world, and to become a key player in the foreign policy domain, both regionally and globally.

Socially, using English in the KSA also allowed the rapid spread of technology and an increasingly globalized society. Further, gaining access to such technology makes it possible for Saudis to communicate across geographical borders through social network media.

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