Obstacles to the Autonomy of Saudi Universities from the Pers ...

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Universities in Saudi Arabia have evolved from state dependence to autonomy, incorporating academic frameworks and administrative systems. However, there is a gap between the actual and desired outcomes and the availability of norms and indicators of independence among growing universities. This research intended to address gaps in the literature by identifying, from the perspective of faculty members, obstacles to independence and autonomy of Saudi Universities. This descriptive-analytic study centered on administrative, economical, and academic factors. A questionnaire was administered to 336 academic members. The results suggested that challenges to administrative freedom were the most significant factor, followed by obstacles related to academic and financial independence. The present study advises revising the university structure and bylaws to offer complete autonomy to Saudi universities, emphasizing the necessity of shared decision-making away from the centralizing university authority and appointing Saudi university leaders through faculty elections. The study concludes that the Ministry of Education and the relevant agencies must reform the university system and its regulations to encourage self-regulation and social accountability. They must respond to society’s demands to allow institutional autonomy. The autonomy of decision-making and the centralization of authority must be increased, and academic bodies must be granted the required authority.