The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the challenges of globalisation, human capital investment and economic reform : a critical evaluation of the King Abdullah scholarship programme

Al Yousef, Maha (2016) The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the challenges of globalisation, human capital investment and economic reform : a critical evaluation of the King Abdullah scholarship programme. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Globalisation has developed alongside the growth of information technologies. These have in turn required states to pursue policies promoting adaptation to a knowledge-based economy reliant on 'human capital' (a phrase first coined in 1961 by Theodore Schultz).
This thesis explores and assesses one aspect of the Saudi Arabian government's response to this globalisation process: investment in capital and development of the population's workplace skills requirements through the King Abdullah Scholarship Programme (KASP). The study considers how countries such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) are looking to maintain their competitive position in the global economic sphere and to increase understanding of the fact that future economic and productivity gains will be dependent on individuals developing their skills, knowledge and specific workplace competencies. The people of a country are themselves potentially valuable assets to be nurtured and utilised. Against this background, the thesis seeks to investigate the effectiveness of the KASP in achieving human capital development and fulfilling policy goals. These strategic objectives are related to the growth and development of the human capital in the country and diversification of the economy.
The thesis has three main sections. The first sets out the overarching research question and the research questions and begins to engage directly with the themes identified in the literature review, including definition, measuring human capital and how to engage with the literature. The overarching research question for the thesis is, ‘How has the Government of KSA sought to invest in human capital through the KASP, and to what extent has the programme been successful?” The second phase sets out the research methodology. Data was collected using a triangulation method, combining quantitative and qualitative methods. The third phase analyses the data and the findings of the study. Here, it is argued that KSA has encountered numerous challenges because of over-dependence on oil to run the economy. In addition, rapid grown in the population has exerted additional pressure on the country, especially regarding women’s issues of equality and rights, since women make up half of the population. In the midst of these major economic challenges, the primary task undertaken by the government of KSA has been to invest in human capital development to generate employment opportunities for the growth and diversification of the economy.
In this thesis, I attempt to explore, through KASP, the extent to which the initiatives taken by the government of the KSA to improve human capital have been effective or not. This thesis is in alignment with the “Vision 2030” of the country that was announced by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the 25th of April 2016. The Vision 2030 reform plan is a package of economic and social policies designed to free Saudi Arabia from dependence on oil exports. The reform plan is based on three main pillars: the Kingdom’s status as the heart of the Arab and Islamic worlds, the Kingdom’s determination to become a global investment powerhouse to stimulate the economy and diversify revenues and the Kingdom’s intention to evolve into a global hub by taking advantage of its unique strategic location connecting three continents, Asia, Europe and Africa. In order to achieve its goals, Vision 2030 focuses on reshaping the education system to contribute to economic growth, in line with the market needs, providing equal opportunities, focusing on skills and competencies of young generation as the important assets to attend global talent and qualifications, lower the rate of unemployment and increase the participation of women in the workforce. All have been tackled and discussed in the thesis. The themes of this thesis deal with the challenges facing KSA such as globalization, economic reform and human capital investment.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2016 10:02
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2016 10:02

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