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Educational policy in Kuwait is designed to meet the needs of all children in the country, regardless of social class, gender, or special needs.

Kuwait is a small Persian Gulf country, but with a high GDP. Nearly half of the country's population earns a living through the oil industry, which accounts for 80% of the government revenues. The Kuwaiti government is trying to diversify its economy and has been investing in training a workforce to support other industries. The government has also been taking steps to increase the percentage of women in the educated workforce.

In the early 1900s, Kuwait didn't have an educational system in place. There were some Islamic schools funded by wealthy Kuwaiti families, that taught basic arithmetic, reading, and writing, but which focused on learning the Koran, but there was no government system of education in place. The Al Mubarakiyya School was established by area merchants in 1911 to train clerks in arithmetic and commerce. By 1945, there were seventeen schools in Kuwait, all of them privately funded.

With the introduction of oil production following World War II, the Kuwaiti government became involved in education, investing large sums of money into the country's educational system. In 1965, Kuwait adopted a constitution that made education a right for every citizen and made schooling compulsory for children up to the age of fourteen. The Kuwaiti Ministry of Education has recently prepared an educational strategy to coordinate teaching methodologies with the needs of global industry and to provide entrepreneurship training for women.

There are four levels of Kuwait's public education system: kindergarten or nursery school, primary, intermediate, and secondary. Approximately two-thirds of Kuwaiti children attend public school during the primary and secondary years, with the remainder enrolled in private or international schools, including private Arabic schools, following Kuwait's national curriculum, as well as foreign language schools following American, British, French, Indian, or an International Baccalaureate curriculum.

Kuwait's expatriate community is larger than its native population, and there are several international schools to serve expat children, although native Kuwaitis are free to enroll as well. American, British, French, Indian, and Pakistani schools offer their own national curriculum, and the International Baccalaureate program is also an option. There are also bilingual schools offering instruction in Arabic and English. Expat schools are funded largely by school fees, so tuition may be high.

Generally, Kuwaiti children begin school at the age of six, although a new system will begin primary school at the age of five. Public schools are separated by gender, as are some of the private schools. Children are required to attend primary and intermediate school, up to grade nine, after which they may continue to the secondary level.

Options for continuing education after secondary school includes vocational or technical training, and degree programs through Kuwait University, or one of several private universities. The Kuwaiti government is encouraging students to take vocational training in order to meet the country's demand for a trained workforce. Other government-supported institutions of higher learning include the College of Basic Education, through the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training, and the Higher Education for Theater Arts and the Higher Institute of Music Arts.

 

 

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