Education history of Kuwait dates back to the 1950s. It was a period of the oil boom, which accelerated development in Sheikdom. Previously, it was economically and technologically undeveloped. Many people survived through pearling, herding and fishing. However, it had no impact on the country’s economic development. Due to the trade and acquisition of the foreign labor, the country’s lifestyle changed, and many people realized the importance of education.
Kuwait, as an Islamic state, had a few Quranic schools that were constructed within the respective villages that provided both Arabic and religious tutelage during the onset of the twentieth century. In the twenty first century, the country curiously targeted the technologically sophisticated infrastructure in enhancing education for its people in the Middle East. Al Mubarakiyya, the first modern academic institution was founded in 1912. It was followed by another institution founded in 1921. However, the education system never neglected girls, since Al Ahmadia School, the third school after the Al Mubarakiyya, was a girl school funded a few years later. By 1935, the government of Kuwait had taken over the whole school management and the academic resources were equality distributed within the areas of concern.
Public education in Kuwait was established in 1935, when the government hired the teachers from other countries, which are not limited to Palestrina, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria. Comparing 600 boys from three schools and the 140 girls from one school, it should be noted that the learning system favored the boys and the girls in the same way. In order to ensure that studying was enhanced, the government constructed an educational center in order to include the respective learning processes.
The political and economic issues should be shared among both men and women in order to decide on the best option that would enhance economic prosperity within a family. However, since women are perceived to be housewives and mothers, men derived pleasure from the economic secrecy and ruled over the economic well-being of their families. However, according to the current communication technology that is commonly adopted within the global perspective, the majority of women in Kuwait are not able to handle the communication modems and modern phones, which are owned only by their husbands and other men
The educational system in Kuwait, including public and private institutions, is working under the government regulations. Therefore, the government of Kuwait is concerned with education of its citizens. The lowest class of the educational structure is kindergarten, which starts from the age of 4 to 5 years. However, the compulsory age when a student in Kuwait has to start attending classes is from 6 to 14 years. The primary school is form 6 to 9 years, intermediate - from 10 to 13 years. For those who would like to continue studying, there is a secondary school (from 14 to 17 years). From the age of 18 to 24 years, an individual would either join a university or studies & training process.
Education in Kuwait is controlled by the government through the Ministry of Education, while the public schools are managed and run by the same government mandated to oversee education within the country. However, any change in the government is likely to affect the public schooling system, since school management is within the patronage of the government. Hence, it should be noted that public schools are directly linked to the government, and any alteration in the government would affect the educational system in the public schools within the country.
Students in Kuwait are supposed to attend schools from the kindergarten to the post-secondary education. The government invests a lot in the educational system of the country, so the students equally gain from the educational funds. However, through the lucrative economic development created by the booming oil business, the citizens of Kuwait are supposed to repay the government loans through working for the respective companies. Through the tax and other sources of revenue, the government of Kuwait would recover the educational load so that other students would benefit from it.
In the efforts to achieve academic excellence, the government of Kuwait introduced free education in 1966, but the compulsory education targets the students between the ages of 6 to 14 years. However, any student who wishes to continue his education regardless of gender is eligible to higher education academic loan.
National Education Department established in 1936 and the Ministry of Education provide the best process of handling issues related to education, which is their primary goal. Additionally, the main objective of the Ministry of Education is to enhance and ensure that proper academic excellence is achieved.
The government of Kuwait spends about 40% of the financial budget for education. However, this is a sign that the government is determined to invest much in education compared the business organizations, since education is the backbone of any progressing nation.
In Kuwait, students identify themselves according to their social groups and age. However, to some extent, students identify themselves with economic well-being of their parents. In the Muslim community, racial aspect is not an issue, since the majority of students are able to speak Arabic and communicate well with each other.
The number of people who take their children to the public schools is between 75% and 93%. The main reason as to why a large group of parents prefer to take their children to the public schools is that the number of private schools is few, and the corresponding cost of education in the private universities is unusually high.
It is quite easy to understand the main principles of the Kuwait system of education. The government invests in education trying to enable each Kuwait citizen to get educated. What is more, both girls and boys are equally treated within the public schools.
Since there are no barriers in the educational system, Kuwait equally considers students depending on grades and subject choice, but there are not definite subjects that are meant only for the boys or for the girls. Therefore, regardless of the gender affiliations, students are supposed to choose the courses and affiliated subjects by themselves.
As a country determined to raise its educational standards, equal working conditions of men and women is a key contributor to the economic growth. However, education is not an exception. The Kuwait government is struggling to create a balanced education, trying to make women recognized and welcomed, since there is a difference between a man and a woman in terms of education and work responsibility.
Despite the opportunity to equally consider boys and girls, the number of girls who enroll for academics is lower comparing to men. In Kuwait, most of the boys and girls assist in carrying out the household chores before getting a job.
Gender parity is an issue that will remain in the history of the Kuwait educational system. Despite the government’s commitment in achieving their Millennium Development Goals in educating the citizens, the education is still at stake for the girls, since the survival of a mother is a basis of the educational excellence for her daughter. Very often, the young girls have no other alternative than being married off. Thus, it interferes with their education; therefore, this should not be accepted. The family should be valued, but the girls should also be given the ability to get education as well as boys.
Gender is a highly sensitive issue that should be handled with an appropriate care in order to demonstrate a distinct accountability in education. However, in Kuwait, the Muslim culture does not allow the girls to study abroad due to the religious and cultural conflicts. However, nowadays, the students often procure sponsorships to study abroad. Hence, it can be said that the issue of gender is far from being over.
According to the Muslim culture, the main woman’s function within a family is being a mother and a housewife, while a man is considered to as a bread winner. Unfortunately, because of this, the girls did not struggle with education. Through the Ministry of Education, the government of Kuwait tires to remove all the gender related inequalities from the sphere of education. A lot of measures should be put in place in order to avoid such issues in the future.
There are a number of NGOs and local non-governmental organizations that support the educational programs for the girls. In addition, they check for the progress of the feminine issues and children in general, since women are the most affected in case of any tragic issue that needs immediate intervention. NGOs like UNIDO, UNIFEM, and UNESCO have their bases within Kuwait for monitoring and evaluation of the humanitarian factors within the country.
The research about educating women is essential since women are often limited in their development. However, through ensuring that women are also included in educational process, they will have an opportunity to defend the sovereignty of their country. In Kuwait, as in the Muslim country, women are not often valued. Therefore, the research work discussed the problem of education of women and the factors related to this problem. The given paper also considered the government’s position concerning education and gender equality in the educational process.