Wednesday , January 23 2019

Farcical education sector! – Why blame expats?

Ahmad Al-Sarraf

When the late Khalid Al-Masoud was Minister of Education in the mid-sixties, he founded the Institute of Teachers and everyone who opted to join this institute were given a persuasive amount of money and I almost fell for the trap because of the ‘grant’.

The number of those who joined the institute increased dramatically so the ministry had to build makeshift classrooms to accommodate the students who would perform their national duty and earn the respect of all.

Today, after half a century, we find both the Institute and the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training has failed to achieve even 40 percent of their target, not to mention the dangerous level of education because of the control over this authority and the students exercised by the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

I do not know where the tens of thousands of Kuwaiti teachers who cost the State hundreds of millions of dinars in the form of bonuses, money spent on education and training over the years have vanished because we still continue to ‘hunt’ for teachers overseas. Former Minister of Higher Education Bader Al-Essa had earlier stated that the total number of Kuwaiti male teachers in the three stages of education, (elementary, intermediate and high school) is 6,131 while the number of expatriate teachers in the same stages is 9,939, that is to say the number of Kuwaitis is less than 40 percent 50 years after the Institute of Teachers was formed.

The minister however added that the number of Kuwaiti female teachers is 33,265, while the number of female expatriate teachers is 14,308 only but of course the reasons are well-known to everyone. The minister added the Kuwaiti teachers are not specialized in languages such as Arabic, English or French, in addition to mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology and geology. Here I wonder what they are specialized in, physical education? It is a real shame to know there are only 100 Kuwaiti math teachers compared to seven times more the number of expatriates and more than ten times the Arabic language.

There are only 4 Kuwaiti physics teachers against 322 expatriates and 19 chemistry Kuwaiti teachers against 312 expatriates. In fact these statistics are catastrophic, even in physical education for women we find there is a shortage in the number of Kuwaiti teachers.

Our wise and powerful government is responsible for this disaster. It is really strange to read proposals submitted by some lawmakers for the need to impose tax on the remittances of expatriates, or not to give them free medicines and harass them to reduce their numbers. These expatriates have not come to us forcibly to loot our money, but many of them came to narrow the gaps we could not bridge for half a century.

In this context, it has been reported a delegation from the Ministry of Education has plans to go to Palestine to hire teachers to teach math and physics after boycotting their services since the liberation of Kuwait in 1991 which has hurt many Palestinians physically but we lost on the moral front because of what plagued us with the poor level and performance of some teachers. I think the delegation will return empty-handed because teachers in Saudi Arabia and Qatar are paid twice than what is offered by Kuwait.

By Ahmad Al-Sarraf


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