Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Online Education Targets Saudi Arabia's Labor Problem, Starting With Women

There are a lot of things wrong with Saudi Arabia’s labor market. Most women there prefer to work in an all-female environment, but there aren’t many of those. Saudi citizens account for two-thirds of employment in the high-paying, comfortable public sector, but only one-fifth of employment in the more dynamic private sector, according to the International Monetary Fund (PDF). Educational levels are quite high, but workers are learning the wrong things—they lack the skills that employers need.

MOOCs to the rescue: Massive open online courses can’t fix all of what ails the Saudi labor market, but they can help with one of the problems—the skills mismatch. On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia and EdX, the online education venture co-founded by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, announced they were teaming up to “bridge the gap between education and employment in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Arab world.”