Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Educational Administration and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Kristina A. Hesbol, Ph.D.


English proficiency, Saudi educational system, Transformative leadership


Saudi Arabia's 2030 Vision (2019) aims to solidify the kingdom's influence in the Middle East while also diversifying the economy and increasing quality of life and access to opportunity for Saudis. One critical component of preparing Saudis for the job market is addressing low English language proficiency among students in the public school system (Rugh, 2002a, 2002b; Habbash, 2011; Elyas & Picard, 2011; Alrashidi & Phan, 2015). This study reviews existing literature on the Saudi Arabian educational system, the controversy surrounding English language instruction, and the importance of English for economic opportunity. Then, using transformative leadership (Shields, 2010) as the theoretical underpinning, the researcher presents an analysis of educational policy documents for both nations. Finally, the researcher offers recommendations for how Saudi Arabia can institute reforms modeled after Bahrain's education system, which has experienced similar economic challenges and systemic obstacles. The conclusions of this study highlight the need for clear and specific policy language, specifically pertaining to the infusion of Islamic values and principles; additional emphasis on language instruction as a whole; and strong guidance on the integration and application of feedback and support for instructors in the Saudi Arabian educational system. This study builds off existing literature by reaffirming the value of transformative leadership in evaluating educational policy and contributes to the larger conversation in educational policy studies by providing recommendations for future research on using English language education to effect change in pursuit of large-scale economic policy initiatives.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Walaa Bunaiyan

File size

97 p.

File format





Educational leadership