Litmus panel on citizenship eyed

KUWAIT CITY, April 13: MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei and some of his colleagues presented a proposal for the Interior and Defense Committee to form a panel which will be tasked to investigate people suspected of holding fake Kuwaiti nationality. In a press statement Thursday, Al-Tabtabaei disclosed that during the debate on the Administrative Circuit Draft Law, particularly the unusual increase in the number of citizens in the last five years, it was mentioned there are thousands of people with fake Kuwaiti nationality and 400,000 of them pose danger to the society, hence, the need to conduct a thorough investigation.

Meanwhile, Chairman of Budgets and Final Accounts Committee MP Adnan AbdulSamad said they met Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Mohammed Al-Fares recently to discuss Kuwait University’s budget for fiscal 2017/2018 and final account for 2015/2016.

He revealed the committee affirmed that the university is serious in correcting observations of oversight bodies like the State Audit Bureau; while it stressed the need to implement the Cabinet’s decision to establish an internal audit unit in all government agencies. He explained the internal audit unit will be under a higher supervisory authority, indicating the university justified its lack of such unit by saying it is still waiting for the Civil Service Commission (CSC) to approve its organizational structure. He added the university has 18 projects and 13 of which are part of Sabah Al-Salem University City. He said the State Audit Bureau uncovered shortcomings which led to delays in the implementation of one of the most vital projects in the country.

He asserted this has prompted the committee to take measures against the contractors in order to force them to comply with the contract, especially the project manager whose responsibilities include coordinating with contractors and ensuring they strictly follow security and safety procedures in the workplace to avoid repetition of fire incidents — one of the causes of delay. The committee also found out that the university has 1,504 teaching staff and 93 visiting lecturers while there are around 38,000 students and the number of teaching staff vacancies reached 116.

The university will start operating Sabah Al-Salem University City by 2020 with a capacity of 40,000 students so the committee pointed out the need to provide teaching and training staff to guarantee smooth flow of work procedures. The committee also stressed the importance of accepting visiting lecturers and teachers based on their qualifications.

According to QS World University Rankings, Kuwait University ranked 24th among universities in Arab nations and last in the GCC. Kuwait University is the oldest in the region as it was founded in 1966 so its administration must shoulder the responsibility of putting the institution among its regional counterparts considering its academic experience.

Moreover, the committee affirmed its full support for developing the academic level of teachers through scientific research or any other way to improve the quality of higher education in Kuwait as well as increase the rating of Kuwait University among its counterparts in the region. On the scientific research budget, the committee said it has no objection to the university’s plan to rearrange items of the budget according to its priorities provided it is within the budget ceiling specified by the Ministry of Finance. Those present at the meeting also agreed on the formation of a team consisting of representatives from the university, Ministry of Finance and technical office of the committee to look into this matter.

By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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