The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Overseas Scholarship Program: Targeting Quality and Employment

Annalisa Pavan


The purpose of this paper is to fill the void in academic literature concerning the transition from the King Abdullah
Scholarship Program (KASP) to the current Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Overseas Scholarship Program.
Based on a review of published news accounts and of announcements made by Saudi sources, Saudi official
documents and comments from various international sources presented in chronological order, this paper suggests
that there have been three phases in this transition, from 2015 to the present, namely: Phase One (Uncertainty); Phase
Two (Establishment of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Overseas Scholarship Program); Phase Three (The
Quality Issue). Saudi Arabia is going through particularly challenging times in the globalized knowledge society and
economy; this paper encourages the academic community to focus on the moves now being made by the Kingdom to
address the quality issue within its educational system, bearing in mind the comments of Majlis Ash-Shura member
Huda Al Helaissi when interviewed by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica: “You must give us time: we are a
young nation… above all, we Saudis are not like you Westerners: we have different values and we intend to uphold
them. We will change in our own way, not yours”.

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World Journal of Education
ISSN 1925-0746(Print)  ISSN 1925-0754(Online)

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