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Only Five Percent? The Perils of Private Education

Everyone in Kuwait is suffering from high school fees – Kuwaiti or expat. So the best business in my opinion is to open schools. It can compete with oil as oil prices have plunged to $20. I’m sure you can make more money out of students.

Where are the good old days when the tuition fee I paid for my son at an English school was KD 2,000 for his senior year. Now my grandson who is seven years old is paying nearly KD 5,000 for second grade. Another friend of mine is paying more than KD 5,000 for her two daughters, one in KG and one in elementary in a British school.

This was before the invasion – I don’t like to mention the invasion, but let’s face it, it’s a reality and a demarcation of time and events in Kuwait. Also, many major things have deteriorated since that black day. Before the invasion, 99 percent of Kuwaitis were in public schools. Only expats went to private schools as they had been banned from public schools since the 1980s.

The situation changed drastically after the liberation and more of our kids started joining the expats in private schools because the quality of public education collapsed. Just like Kuwait Airways, our blue bird. Two major services in Kuwait collapsed after liberation and till now, 25 years later, have not reversed course.

Back to schools. If I’m paying for a child of five years KD 5,000 in tuition, how much do you expect my salary to be? And it’s only education I’m talking about. Leave alone food, housing, petrol, car, health, clothing, etc, etc. Where is the government? Why are we even bothering with public schools? Close them and give us the money used for the budget for the Ministry of Education so we can pay the private school tuition fees for our children. And then when it was discussed in parliament, I hoped for serious action from our honorable gentlemen, the defenders of the nation. And what did they come out with?

Actually why are we even talking about an increase of 5 or 10 or even 1 percent? We should be talking about decreasing the fees. Why are we paying so much? And why are we disputing increases when we should be demanding reduction in fees? The fees are already unfairly and unjustly high for Kuwaitis, so imagine for expats who earn much less and get no subsidies for anything!

If you say that there is a high demand and a free market, then ease the licenses for schools, provide the land and let new schools be opened. Actually, children should not be without schooling and most advanced nations of the world provide education free to all children regardless of their nationality or status in the country. When we fled to London during the invasion, my children, who are Kuwaitis, immediately joined the schools in the UK and were enrolled like any other children without any fees or questions.

Shame on us for turning education into a business.