School attendance in Kuwait is compulsory for
all children between the ages of six and fourteen, but public
education is provided free to Kuwaiti children only.
All Schools, whether public or private, are
regulated by the Ministry of Education (ME). The Kuwaiti
educational system, after kindergarten, consists of elementary,
intermediate and secondary levels, each of four years duration.
Nursery & Kindergarten
The ME provides free kindergartens for Kuwaiti children
between the ages of four and six.
For expatriate children between two and four
years there are a large number of private nursery schools.
The better (and more expensive) ones are registered with
the Private Education Department of the ME (see KPG Business
Directory under Playgroups). Fees for those with a good
size and range of facilities are about KD85 a month per
Expatriates often organize their own informal playgroups.
These are publicised mainly by word-of-mouth and tend to
be transitory. Many schools for foreign children have kindergartens
for children aged four to six.
Elementary, Intermediate & Secondary
Attendance at state schools is restricted to Kuwaiti children,
the children of teachers working for the ME and the children
of expatriates who obtained residence prior to 1960. All
other expatriate children must be educated privately.
Before the war there were only 15 non-Arabic
foreign schools in the country. Demand for a Western education
has increased more than threefold since liberation.
All foreign schools in Kuwait must be accredited
to the Private Education Department (PED) of the ME. The
PED supervises the schools by overseeing staff qualifications
and school facilities, and ensures compliance by regular
inspections. The ME also regulates school fees.
Private schools for non-Arabic children follow
their home country curricula, such as American, British,
French, German, Indian, Pakistani, etc, though all schools
are also obliged to incorporate local cultural and language
studies into their curricula. Standards achieved compare
favourably with those in the pupils' home countries.
Costs and the Academic Year
Private Arabic schools receive some government support,
such as land to build schools and free text books but very
little assistance is provided for non-Arabic schools.
Fees for non-Arabic private schools vary widely
(see box ). Transport by bus to and from school is extra.
Normally the costs of text books and writing materials are
not included in the fees, and additional fees are charged
for sports and other extracurricular activities.
The academic year runs from late August or
early September to mid-June. Expatriate schools usually
have three days off in October, breaks twice a year of a
fortnight each, and official holidays. The school week is
Saturday through Wednesday. The school day usually begins
at 7:45am and finishes at 2pm, though these timings vary
a bit between schools.
Education beyond school level is regulated by the Ministry
of Higher Education (MHE). The country has one university
and several technical schools.
As regards degree courses, Kuwait University
(KU - tel: 481 1188) practises a restricted entry policy
for expatriates. Twenty places are reserved for students
whose parents teach at KU. A further 50 places are available
to students who obtain scholarships through the MHE. The
government has announced plans to allow the private sector
to establish new universities which would be open to all.
By September 2000 the Ministry has received three applications
from investors to establish private universities in Kuwait.
The applications will be reviewed after completing the charter
that would regulate the operations of private universities.
Adult & Vocational Schooling
KU's Centre for Community Service and Continuing Education
(CCSCE) offers non-degree courses for students over 16 years
in various subjects such as languages (including Arabic
as a foreign language), arts, administration, education,
engineering, computers, law, secretarial studies, etc, which
are open to expatriates. These courses are administered
from building 3KH (tel: 483 0804, fax: 483 6323), Khaldiyah
campus. Fees are fairly nominal.
State-funded adult education and vocational
training is provided by the Public Authority for Applied
Education and Training (PAAET), which is also the central
authority charged with carrying out the government's vocational
education policies. PAAET has several full-time colleges
as well as field and industrial training centres, where
students may learn technical and professional subjects including
teaching, commercial studies, nursing, and mechanical and
electrical trades. Some courses are open to expatriates.
There are several private institutions in the
country offering a variety of full and part-time courses
in business studies, secretarial skills, computing and languages.
See KPG Business Directory, under Educational Services,
Schools - Specialist Training, and Training Institutes.