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School degrees in doubt at every level – Corruption deep


KUWAIT CITY, July 30: The Kuwaiti educational system has been under fire over the last months as MPs have been focusing on the issue for a long time, but recent developments including cases of fraudulent credentials set MPs on a war path to cleanse the system of corruption.

MP Khaled Al-Shatti said the Kuwaiti educational system is suffering from deep rooted corruption and fake qualification crisis that is not limited to doctorate certificates but master’s and bachelor’s degrees as well and even high school diplomas. “The Ministry of Education and Higher Education knows this,” asserted the MP; adding that reform in educational institutions cannot be achieved without unified public supervision.

He pointed out that when the ministry issued the ‘Anti-Cheating Charter’ to combat cheating in schools, some people were outraged as if cheating is right and they are now forced to do the opposite. The same thing happened when the decision on mandatory IELTS for scholarship applications was issued which, according to the MP, proves there is a crisis at the high school level.

He added the crisis also reached the university level; indicating that in 2014, a Syrian student with an overall grade of 64 percent was accepted into Kuwait University (KU) while Kuwaiti students with up to 80 percent were rejected.

In the same year, another non- Kuwaiti student was accepted despite having significantly lower score than the Kuwaitis. This is a clear evidence of corruption at KU which, once upon a time was, a beacon in the academe but the corrupt have taken over, he asserted. Al-Shatti believes the best college in KU is medicine, but if it does not implement better regulations, there is a possibility that the college will no longer be recognized by other countries such as the US and France. “If this is a possibility for the best college, what will happen to the rest?” he wondered.

According to the MP, this is the result of the 20-year-governmental negligence and failure to spot signs and heed warnings. Nevertheless, he remains hopeful due to the efforts being exerted by Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Hamed Al-Azmi. He urged the minister to stand firm in the midst of waves, stressing that the issue will not be solved by prosecuting 50 individuals with fake credentials.

He said it is better to implement strict regulations to prevent officials from running their departments and institutions however they want. He also called on HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak to support Al-Azmi as the latter has proven his capability and has taken tangible steps towards reform, adding the Parliament fully supports the minister.

By Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff

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