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‘Kuwait’s crisis not in financial liquidity, but in poor management’

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Kuwait University nosedives in world rankings

KUWAIT CITY, April 14: The QS website index says Kuwait University for the year 2022 fell 200 places in the classification of 2022 ranking 1001 at the world level after it was within the 801 category, reports Al-Jarida daily. This was not as shocking to those who follow the state of the administration in Kuwait since the beginning of the new millennium as much as it was expressive about a new picture of the failure to provide an important service — this time in higher education — despite spending or wasting billions of dinars.

The Kuwait University, which has spent an equivalent of 2.8 billion dinars out of a total of 3.5 billion on its new luxury buildings in the Shaddiyah area, and has a budget that is the highest among independent state institutions at the level of 560 million dinars annually, could not with these billions prevent the deterioration of its classification during the last ten years, about 400 places in the world university rankings, especially in terms of the lack of progress in the balances affecting the QS classification, which depends on a set of criteria such as academic reputation or the ratio of students to faculty members and the extent of the university’s attractiveness to students and professors.

Despite the huge money spent by the Kuwait University, the daily quoting sources says, its expenditures on scientific research do not exceed half a percent of its budgets, and the number of annual scientific research issued by its professors is not commensurate with the financial benefits of its affiliates, in addition to being subjected to political pressure for more than 15 years to accept the numbers of students beyond its capacity. The Kuwait University According to the QS classification — which, by the way was a magnet for students from the Gulf states until the mid-eighties — was ranked 16th in the Gulf and 27th in the Arab world, indicates a deep efficiency crisis not only compared to the countries of the world, but also with the countries of the region, many of which do not possess, perhaps, 10 percent of what Kuwait University has in terms of financial, construction and other facilities and privileges.

Perhaps it is fair to say that the efficiency crisis that Kuwait has been experiencing in recent years, especially in terms of spending billions without achieving the expected service in return, is not only related to the university, although on the one hand it is the latest form of failure, and on the other hand, the efficiency crisis here affects an academic edifice that was a model due to the success of Kuwait during its prosperity period, and today witness the decline, not to mention the negative impact of the decline in the level of the university on education and the labor market, but the failures despite spending billions are many and varied. For example, Kuwait spends on public education about 2.1 billion dinars, or 9 percent of budget expenditures, and regardless of Kuwait’s deteriorating ranking globally in the quality of public education, the Ministry of Education was not even able to restore education to its modest level before the pandemic, despite the success of most countries of the world in this simple task. In spending without return, there are many examples, including the Public Authority for Housing Welfare, which allocated about 10 years ago 7 billion dinars for the implementation of housing cities.

The housing crisis continues to directly affect more than 150,000 Kuwaiti families in parallel with the almost nonstop rise in residential real estate prices and rents, while the Ministry of Health consumes annual expenditures of 2.7 billion dinars, equivalent to 11 percent of the state budget, and at the same time it is expanding what is known as “treatment abroad” and insuring retirees according to a wellness program, although the budget of the Ministry of Health is supposed to provide better if the prudent management is provided medical and health care services for these two categories, instead of taking them out of its service. As for the oil sector, which is the highest compared to any other sector in terms of salaries, financial and job benefits, and whose value is about 1.6 billion dinars, it has not succeeded in implementing any strategic project in recent years, other than the environmental fuel project recently, in return for failures in a number of projects.

The most important of which is the Vietnam Refinery and the cancellation of the Dabdaba solar energy project, bearing in mind that the issue of merging the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation with its oil companies in an effort to streamline the decision and reduce administrative and capital expenditures has entered its fourth year without taking practical steps in this direction.

The so-called agricultural holdings and livestock lands represent an additional model of spending without realizing a return, as the state increased the plant area allocated to agriculture during the past ten years by 22 percent, while the self-sufficiency rate of fresh vegetables decreased from 46 percent in 2015 to 42 percent for In 2019, the self-sufficiency of green fodder also declined from 90 percent in 2015 to 46 percent in 2019, and the decline in red meat self-sufficiency rates extended from 24 percent in 2015 to 21 percent in 2019, despite the increase in the size of animal production holdings by 40% over the past 10 years.

There is no doubt that Kuwait’s decline in many global economic and service indicators related to education, health, business environment, environmental quality, road efficiency, economic freedom, technological diffusion, and others, coincided with a strong escalation in the state’s general budget to spend on aspects that do not meet the desired results, which shows that the crisis Kuwait was never in its financial liquidity, but rather in the low efficiency of its management, which drains its wealth and lowers the quality of its services.

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