‘Kuwait lags behind Gulf, globally in education quality’

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KUWAIT CITY, March 12: The experts in the field of education spoke of the need to develop an urgent plan for education reform, stressing that the successive developments in the labor market require the rehabilitation of a generation capable of innovation in the fields of newly created businesses, pointing to the need to update the curricula and develop modern teaching methods away from indoctrination and memorization, reports Al-Qabas daily. The experts say the Education Ministry acquired 13.6 billion dinars from the state budget in 5 years, while the return is weak and the level is below ambition, noting that the quality of education in Kuwait ranks low in the Gulf and globally.

They touched on the replacement plan in the education sectors, pointing out that Kuwaitization requires addressing the reluctance of Kuwaiti youth from the teaching profession, noting that the development of education begins with setting a clear and fixed strategy that does not change with the change of leaders. While Kuwait, during the past years, ranked low in terms of the quality of the educational system globally and in the Gulf, according to international reports and tests, the government and the local community admit that education in the country is not at the level of ambition, despite the huge amount of spending, and voices calling for concerted efforts and immediate action to save it are always raised, but without feasibility.

According to official statistics, of which Al-Qabas has obtained copies, the size of the budget in the Ministry of Education is increasing year after year, as during the past academic year 2021-2022 when it reached 2.141 billion dinars, compared to 1.992 billion in the academic year 2020-2021, after it was 1.742 in 2016-2017, up from 1.733 billion in 2015-2016. Former UNESCO research advisor, Dr. Fatima Al-Hashem, says that the education system in Kuwait has suffered serious setbacks during the past years, and they increased during the Corona crisis.

Al-Hashem explained the enormity of the organizational structure in the Education Ministry with the presence of other institutions such as the National Center for Education Development, which led to overlapping powers that do not serve the educational components, which made it difficult to present a clear and coordinated vision. She indicated that one of the reasons for the decline in education in Kuwait is poor long-term planning and an unclear vision that leads to disparate programs and projects that are not in line with the state’s vision. She said there is no balance between secondary education tracks and academic majors at the university and the needs of the labor market.

The educational researcher and assistant principal at Ahmed Al-Rabee High School, Abdul Rahman Al-Jasser, confirmed that one of the biggest problems facing education in Kuwait is the absence of vision, lack of clarity of goals and lack of strategic educational planning even if there is a written plan, it is nothing more than ink on paper. Al-Jasser pointed out that the educational field lacks stability for a long time, which led to the dispersion of efforts and waste of funds.

At the level of the curricula, there were goals, then competencies, then standards, and at the level of experiences, there were schools of the future, quality, developed school administrations, then effective administrations. At the level of projects, we have seen fl ash memory, tablets, and smart boards, stressing that “these changes, transformations, and successive rapid experiences have a negative impact on the educational field with all its components.” The educator, a member of the Committee for Reviewing Strategies to Include Technology in Education, Dr. Muhammad Al-Sharika, said that Kuwait spends a lot on education, but unfortunately this spending represents 90% of it as current spending, salaries and operating expenses, and what remains does not meet the needs of the real development of the educational process, considering that the Ministry Education needs significant financial support in order to be able to move forward in the reform process.

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