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Wednesday , March 29 2023

Ahmadiya and Al-Sabah; A story of the homeland

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I received a picture from a friend of the building of the first school in which I studied in the early 1950s, which is Al-Sabah School, so I sent the picture to some and received funny responses, and this is the article about the matter that issue.

Al-Sabah School opened at the end of the 1940s, with the expansion of the opening of modern schools for the primary and intermediate stages, with the increase in the state’s oil resources after the end of World War II.
Perhaps I joined Al-Sabah between 1954 and 1955, and I still remember the faces of the majority of the teachers of that stage, and many of my friends there, including Sheikh Mubarak Al-Jaber Al-Ahmad, the late Sheikh Khalifa Al-Abdullah, in addition to Faisal Al-Jassem, Saleh Al-Muslim, and a number of sons of Al-Harz, Al-Qattan, Al-Abdul-Mohsen, Al-Matrouk, and Al-Mutawa, Al-Jana’at, Al-Mazidi, Sayed Abed, Al-Mousawi, Al-Sayegh, Al-Fahd, Al-Ibrahim, Marafie and others.
Among the teachers whose faces I still remember well, and who left our world, are the deputy school manager Majid, teachers Hamad Al-Rajaib, Ayoub Hussein, Ahmad Al-Muhanna, Issa Obaid, Ahmad Al-Labbad, Saleh Shehab, Muhammad Ali and others.

A friend whom I feel proud of his knowledge told me the story of the founding of the Ahmadiya School, which started its classes with the decreasing financial resources of the Mubarakiya School, the first regular school in the history of Kuwait.
This affected the level of education so the teaching of some subjects was canceled with the refusal to teach the English language and kept only religious and arithmetic subjects.

These decisions provoked enlightened people such as the poet and cleric Yusuf bin Issa, the poet Saqr Al-Shabib, and the historian Abdul Aziz Al-Rasheed, so they went to complain about the matter to the ruler, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, asking him to intervene and impose the teaching of modern sciences and English in Mubarakiya, and to silence the extremist opponents among them some parents and clerics.
Sheikh Ahmad, for well-known and sensitive reasons, we have already discussed in two previous articles, pleased them and offered them to open a new school through which they would teach whatever subjects they wanted, and this is actually what happened, as a number of the best men known for their love of science called and collected the sum of 13,000 rupees, to be paid repeatedly every year.
The ruler also participated in the donation of two thousand rupees, which was also paid in the following years, and the reformer Youssef bin Issa was commissioned to take over its management, and it was named “The Ahmadiya School” after the name of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber, and construction began in 1921, and its location was on the sea in the Jableh area, close to the current museum.
The curricula of the “liberal” school did not escape some degree of harsh criticism from the extremist clergy and conservatives, because it made the teaching of modern sciences and the English language part of its curricula.

They were not satisfied with the appointment of Youssef bin Issa as its superintendent, knowing that he was also the first headmaster of Mubarakiya, as they doubted his intentions to develop education.
It does not seem that things have changed much today from what they were 100 years ago for the forces of backwardness and ossification are still working to hinder the progress of the state, knowing that any progress is not in their interest.

e-mail: a.alsarraf@alqabas.com.kw

By Ahmad alsarraf