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Kuwait population over 4.6 million; PACI, CSB statistics hinder policy making

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KUWAIT CITY, Aug 16: The Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) and Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI) are public institutions under the government. The primary objective of these two institutions is to provide accurate statistical data being used as basis for drafting public policies, the most basic of which is the population census. The indisputable hypothesis is that the data of both institutions must be identical.

In case of discrepancies in their data they must coordinate to unify their data before releasing the information or explaining reasons behind the discrepancy, Al-Rai daily reports. In the first week of August 2022 the CSB released its population statistics as at the end December 2021. The report stated that the total population of Kuwait reached 4,216,900 — a decline of 119,112 compared to 4,336,012 in 2020. This is attributed to the decrease in expatriate population by about 148,000 and an increase of about 29,000 in the number of Kuwaitis.

Release
Meanwhile, PACI has yet to release its demographic statistics as at the end of 2021. Its statistics by the end of June 2021 showed that Kuwait has a population of 4,627,674 — a difference of 411,000 compared to the CSB statistics at the end of 2021, which is a significant difference. Fundamental differences extend to the age groups, as CSB estimates those who are aged 60 years and above at 361,493 while PACI estimated 122,004 at the end of June 2021. For the age group 25 to 29 years old, the estimate of CSB is 206,048 while PACI’s estimate is 512,087 — a difference of 306,000. Looking into the population statistics of both institutions makes one feel that these are the statistics of two different countries. It is difficult to lay down any policy with such a significant difference.

If the primary statistics are wrong, it is possible that the more complex statistics on which it is built, such as economic growth, infl ation, employment and unemployment are also wrong. It is necessary to avoid discrepancies and ensure the accuracy of figures. The two institutions should meet to review the discrepancies and their justifications before the statistics are released, or this task should be assigned to one institution only. Otherwise, all studies and policies adopted by the State will be inaccurate. Accurate and updated statistics are considered the fuel of development.

Public Education

People are hoping that Kuwait will start a new era in improving the quality of public education and restore its pioneering role. This role is impossible without the commitment to determine priorities, combat corruption and ensure fair parliamentary elections. One of the priorities should be reforming the oil sector, considering most of its highly qualified administrators have been replaced with the unqualified or those with poor qualifications.

This disaster led to the distribution of positions among corrupt influential people whose loyalty is bought and whose number has multiplied. Another priority is development of the educational sector. The level of public education declined by about 4.6 years, according to the World Bank and the latest programs of the previous governments. This means that the educational level of a high school graduate here is below that of an eighth grade completer elsewhere.

An official report titled, “For Kuwait’s Sake Let’s Teach Our Children Integrity”, estimated the average cost for a student in government schools – kindergarten to secondary – at KD 3,800 annually. According to a survey conducted by Al-Shall, the cost of private school education is more than the average cost in American schools — KD 3,900. The average cost for students in bilingual schools is about KD 2,900; KD 2,600 in British schools, KD 500 in Indian schools and KD 427 in Arabic schools, all of which have better educational outputs than government schools. This means that the problem is not the scarcity of money, but wastage and misappropriation, in addition to numerous shortcomings such as the failure to link the teachers with rare specialization and research, teacher’s promotion in continuing education, cheating and inflation of the administrative system for employment purposes. All of these have disrupted the provision of other educational needs such as laboratories, tools and training courses.

Traditional

While education around the world is witnessing a curriculum revolution because most traditional jobs are no longer needed in the future, the public education curricula in the country has been unchanged. Since the outputs of public education are the inputs of higher education, the lag in its outputs makes raising the level of higher education almost impossible.

Therefore, the classification of higher education institutions lags behind that of neighboring countries where the Kuwaiti public education curricula were taught in the past. Kuwait needs a new administration fully aware of the sabotage in public education, and believes that improving the country’s level will be in vain without improving its human capital which, in turn, will not be achieved without a real educational revolution that includes curricula and values. No one is seeking for new invention as clear examples abound, what matters is determination.

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