AFTER 110 years of the inception of formal education, and with great hopes placed on Kuwaiti generations to take the country to higher levels, the last thing Kuwaitis expected to happen in the field of education, is to receive the lowest global scientific ranking at all levels – from primary school to university – in the year 2021.
Education is the salt of development; its corruption spoils life. This was realized from the beginning by those who sought an ideological society within the political frameworks wrapped in religion. Therefore, we are currently living in the face of underdevelopment in terms of health, urbanism, economy and services.
It is not the first time our official university is scoring a low grade. It has become common for Kuwait to receive a low rank in education because it did not work on building people, but rather surrendered to powerful partisan forces that imposed retarded curricula based on a narrow vision with the goal of controlling through social discrimination.
The outcome of such a retarded approach resulted in the seditious division which is evident in the relations between Sunnis, Shiites, Salafists, tribes, sects, and the insiders and outsiders. A good example is the elections of the Kuwait Students Union, which almost reaches the point of war among political groups supported by parties and factions representing those camps.
Kuwait’s real crisis began in 1976 when the government turned a blind eye to the start of the infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood Group, sectarianism and tribalism into the education sector. Curricula appropriate for those forces were developed, and public schools were weakened by surrendering to political groups in the parliament that sought to enact laws that contradict common sense and humanity, including the law to prevent coeducation.
Unfortunately, all these are becoming quite evident today. Kuwait, which recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of its independence, should have followed Singapore’s approach in terms of adopting a strict and advanced educational system. Singapore gained its independence in 1965, and despite its limited area, lack of wealth, and large population, it attained financial stability and a good economy that is far better than Kuwait’s because it worked on producing free and independent human beings.
Our Ministry of Education receives a huge budget annually. Last year alone, it was allocated KD 1.9 billion, but it did not achieve any progress. We witnessed the scandal in the results of distance education last year, while private schools and universities were keen about being proactive in producing better outputs to affirm their presence in the field.
Faced with the failure of the public sector in the education field, similar to the failure of the state policies in other fields, it has become necessary to encourage private education, with the Ministry of Education taking over the supervisory role. However, a major overhaul must take place in the ministry to rid itself of all the partisans who seek to sabotage everything that does not lead to the fulfillment of their goals.
All this devastation was caused by successive governments that were subjected to partisan blackmail. Therefore, the popular Arabic proverb “May the tinker eat what he’d baked” can be applied to the official lamentation over Kuwait’s decline in the global educational ranking.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times