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Kuwait and the Quality of Education

Kuwait and the Quality of Education

Al-Qabas, Kuwait, June 18

I recently came across the Global Education Quality Index issued by the World Economic Forum in Davos, which ranks countries according to their educational performance. In the report, Kuwait ranked eighth in the Arab world and 97th globally. Meanwhile, neighboring Qatar ranked first in the Arab world and fourth globally. The irony is that Egypt, which had a long history in the field of education, and even provided assistance to many Arab and African countries, has fallen to the last place in the Arab ranking. The State of Qatar was preceded by Singapore, which ranked first, followed by Switzerland and Finland. Yes, Qatar surpassed all other countries in the world, including the United States, Japan and European countries. These are shocking results that reveal the rapid decline in the quality of education in Kuwait. Do we remember Kuwait, which was once the place where Arab countries sent their best daughters and sons to be educated? Do we recall the number of foreign leaders who were educated in Kuwaiti schools and universities in their youth? Indeed, many of our brothers in the Gulf – in countries like Qatar, the UAE, Oman, and Bahrain – studied in Kuwait’s schools, institutes and colleges with full scholarships that covered all of their needs. How can we explain the dire ranking of Kuwait and Egypt compared to leading countries like Singapore and Japan? During the World War II, Japan experienced a humiliating military defeat, which resulted in its complete destruction and devastation. However, Japan quickly regained its vitality and established a leading position in all scientific and technical fields. Had it not been for its ambitious scientific and educational plan, Japan would not have been able to grow to become the third largest economy in the world. If we read about education in Japan in terms of the system, divisions and goals, we will quickly discover that Kuwait used to follow almost the exact same approach, and education in Kuwait was at a remarkably high level. Similarly, without its focus on education, Singapore would have not become such a strong country boasting the second-highest per-capita GDP in the world. The only way to put our country on the right path forward is to invest in our youth and revitalize our education system. We must revamp our academic institutions and revamp our science curricula. Only then will we be able to restore our ranking in these indices – and our national pride. – Magda Attar (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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