NCUK Launches University Pathway Provision in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


NCUK announces its expansion into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a pioneering move as the first university pathway provider of its kind in the nation. This partnership with Advanced Learning Academy supported by Cambridge Academy, marks a major milestone for NCUK, expanding its reach for its in-country pathway provision to 40 markets worldwide.

Through this partnership, Saudi students now have the chance to study NCUK’s International Foundation Year in Riyadh. On completion, they can gain direct entry to an undergraduate degree at more than 50 universities across the top five study destinations including members of the Russell Group, Group of 8, and those consistently ranked among the QS World Top 100 universities.

During a visit to the British Embassy in Riyadh on Tuesday 27 February, NCUK’s Chief Executive Officer, Stuart Smith (pictured below), emphasised the impact this partnership aims to achieve, commenting:

Chief Executive speaking at event.

Our university pathway programmes will allow students in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to undertake a foundation year programme much closer to home, equipping them with the required skills to succeed whilst fully supporting them on their journey to university.

Pak Louey, CEO of Advanced Learning Company, the parent company of Advanced Learning Academy, expressed his excitement about the partnership. He said:

We at Advanced Learning Academy are thrilled to announce our partnership with NCUK, which offers a unique opportunity for students in Saudi to access a world-class Foundation Year programme. The International Foundation Year programme is a significant development for the Saudi education sector. Our collaboration with NCUK provides students with an unparalleled opportunity to advance their careers by enrolling in leading universities around the world. The journey will start here in Riyadh, providing substantial savings, convenience and reassurance for parents preparing their children to study aboard.

Professor Sir Steve Smith (pictured below), the UK Government’s International Education Champion, underscored the significance of this milestone for educational attachment between the UK and Saudi Arabia, stating:

Professor Sir Steve Smith speaking at event.

NCUK’s dedication to widening access to UK education is exemplified by this partnership. It is a testament to their commitment bringing world-class higher education to students in Saudi Arabia. This initiative is not just about opening doors to the UK’s universities; it’s about building a global educational community and enriching the academic fabric of both our nations.

NCUK was founded by universities in 1987 to provide access routes for international students into higher education, and we’ve been trusted by more than 50,000 students and over 50 universities to do this. NCUK’s pathway model is student-led and empowers student choice. Our qualifications are taught at over 120 schools, colleges and study centres across more than 40 countries. This means our students can choose to study closer to home initially if they wish, and positions us well to deliver a diverse body of high-quality students to our university partners, supporting their diversification goals

NCUK’s International Foundation Year is designed specifically for international students to equip them with English language and academic skills required by universities and has been independently benchmarked by UK ENIC, the UK national agency for international qualifications and skills, as being comparable to GCE A Level; Australian high school (SSCE); American high school (AP); and Hong Kong high school (HKDSE) qualifications.

Starting September 2024, the NCUK International Foundation Year will be available in Riyadh through NCUK’s Study Centre partner, Advanced Learning Academy.

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