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Thursday , September 23 2021

Rethink on World Bank deal

KUWAIT CITY, April 26: The parliamentary Education, Culture and Guidance Affairs Committee on Sunday discussed the expenditures of the Education Ministry with representatives of the State Audit Bureau (SAB) and Ministry of Finance. Committee Chairman MP Hamad Al-Matar disclosed that they focused on the expenditures of the Education Ministry, especially the contract with World Bank to provide consultative services for Kuwait. He quoted Undersecretary of the ministry Faisal Al-Meqaised as saying that the ministry did not benefit from the contract which is valued at almost $35 million. He added Director of the Education Development Department Salah Dabsha confirmed the undersecretary’s statement; indicating that KD46 million was allocated for development of online education in the next 12 years and KD 26 million of this amount was previously spent on the tablets project. He pointed out such a huge expenditure did not lead to any development in education; adding that Kuwait ranked 92nd in the international educational index for academic year 2016/2017 but went down to 111th in 2017/2018. He said Kuwait is the last among Gulf countries in terms of elementary education, as well as the quality of teaching mathematics and the sciences.

He affirmed that Kuwait has executed 50 percent of the contract signed with World Bank, calling on Minister of Education Ali Fahd Al-Mudaf to cancel the remaining 50 percent and use the money for addressing urgent educational issues. He said the World Bank programs were successful in other countries, but not in Kuwait.

Also in his capacity as chairman of the Environment Protection Committee, Al-Matar revealed the panel deliberated on contracts related to the renewable energy project in Shaqaya. He said the project was supposed to be transferred from the Center of Researches on Kuwait to the Ministry of Electricity and Water for the latter to administer the second and third phases, but it was forwarded to the oil sector despite the fact that the project is aimed at generating electricity through wind power. He stressed the need to manage the project according to law number 39/ 2010 which stipulates distribution of shares as follows: 26 percent for the initiative, 24 percent for the government and 50 percent for the citizens through public subscription.

He disclosed there has been an agreement to ask Minister of Oil and Higher Education Muhammad Abdullatif Al-Fares to study the issue and then submit a report to the committee. He added the project is important for Kuwait as it will save six million barrels of oil per year and this will have a positive impact on the public budget, taking into consideration the economic crisis. In another development, MP Osama Al-Shaheen condemned the violent attack of the Zionist entity on Palestinians living in Jerusalem and in the neighborhood of Aqsa Mosque. He urged the governments and parliaments in different countries to condemn such aggressive attitude.

He then disclosed that he and nine of his colleagues submitted a proposal to hold a special parliamentary session on June 6, 2021 to discuss the possibility of amending law number 21/1964 on confronting normalization of relations with Israel to coincide with commemoration of the declaration of Defense War Decree against the Zionist entity. On the supplementary parliamentary election scheduled for May 22, eight candidates have withdrawn their candidacies so far and this number is expected to increase until the end of the grace period for candidates to withdraw from the electoral race – seven days before the election.

By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff

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