KUWAIT CITY, Feb 3: IN THIS week’s Arab Times online poll, readers weighed in on the drawbacks of educating their child in Kuwait. The majority of respondents felt that school fees are exorbitant compared to the quality of education and facilities provided.
As reported in the Arab Times this week, Minister of Education Dr Bader Al-Essa affirmed the draft law of private education which was referred to the Parliamentary Education Committee that sets the ceiling for fees in private schools.
Rapporteur of the committee MP Hamoud Al-Hamdan disclosed that labelling of private schools under the new law; whether foreign, bilingual or Arabic, will facilitate procedures for guardians to sue the schools if fees are raised at random.
Additionally, earlier this year, Ministry of Education (MoE) has issued citations against 20 private and American schools among some 180 schools for violating regulations and raising fees up to 40 percent, although the law does not allow more than 3 percent increase every three years.
41% of all voters found that the biggest drawback of educating their children in Kuwait was that the fees were too expensive.
Meanwhile 13% of voters felt that the quality of education was substandard compared to West. “Kuwaitis usually have more than two children and western private schools here charge around KD 2000 per student with incremental increases every year. We have four kids and we are really stretched to pay their tuition fees. The government’s response is for us to educate our kids in public schools but we ourselves have studied in public schools and we know their standard of teaching”, a Kuwaiti parent shared with the Arab Times. “As a parent, you want to give your child the best education and advantage to succeed in life. Unfortunately, this sentiment has been exploited and it has now become very hard to find good education that is affordable in Kuwait”, another parent commented.
18% of respondents felt that private schools in Kuwait were looking out to maximize their profits by hiring unqualified staff. A teacher from an American school shared, “Most of the schools here have a hire and fire policy. They are well established and have garnered a name in the community so it doesn’t matter to them if they have qualified staff or not, many today are employed based on wasta.”
A concerned Pakistani parent shared, “Many teachers working in Pakistani schools are housewives who are not under the school’s sponsorship, hence when there is a checking by the authorities, they just abandon the kids in the school and run away.”
9% felt that the low salaries paid to teachers in some private schools forced them to underperform at work and instead take private tuition. “It is terrible that most students in higher grades in Indian schools today have to take private tuition lessons because they are not getting satisfactory instruction in the classroom. Most the times, they go to the same teacher after school who is supposed to be teaching them in the day. The teachers will often supply the reason for more focused or individual attention for the child. But this is just a money making racket.”
On the other hand, an administrator from an Indian school shared, “We cannot afford to give teachers better salary which we do want to give as the government doesn’t allow us to increase fees. We had increased fees earlier but one of the parents complained to Ministry of Education and our files were closed and we had to refund the money.”
20% of voters felt that higher education for expatriate children is lacking in Kuwait. Asian expatriates – Schools don’t have higher level of education here hence we have no option but to send our children back home or to Europe or USA for further studies.
By Cinatra Fernandes Arab Times Staff