‘UNESCO statistics can be misleading’

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KUWAIT CITY, March 25: The annual statistics of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) show that there were 221,820 children of school age in Kuwait who did not enroll in schools during 2023, including 60,790 children of primary school age, 81,180 middle school boys, and 79,850 students of secondary school age, reports Al-Rai daily. An educational source told the daily the numbers mentioned in the statistic include Kuwaiti and expatriate children.

The source described the statistics as “frightening and offensive at the same time, as the number of students deprived of education did not exceed 12,000 in 2008,” stressing the need to enact legislative laws that oblige expatriates to teach their children. The source pointed out that the ministry’s justifications are represented by “the presence of a large number of children of some communities, estimated in thousands, studying in the (home education) system, and then taking the exams in their home countries, in addition to the fact that some foreign residents send their children to study in their countries of origin, while the children’s residence permit remains valid.”

He said, “The poor electronic linkage in the Ministry of Education, between public and private schools, has resulted in Kuwaiti students appearing in UNESCO statistics, which included a number of children of diplomats working abroad, some students are enrolled in foreign schools, and a number of children of family disintegration, where dozens of students were observed.” They are not enrolled in schools, due to the large number of divorce cases. He added, “There are also cases of Kuwaiti students in the statistics, including some students with disabilities, and the state must support the private sector in attracting them with all their disabilities and categories,” stressing at the same time the importance of addressing administrative errors that led to the presence of some Kuwaiti students in the statistics, while they are enrolled in private schools.

The source concluded by saying “this number mentioned in the statistics means that the percentage of those deprived of education is equivalent to 10 percent, which is a very high percentage and harms the reputation of the educational system in Kuwait.” The source said it must be proved the expat children are enrolled in the schools of their countries, to ensure that these children are taught and not deprived of their right to education.

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