Language of Instruction in Kuwait

Most of the schools in Kuwait are public schools, where the medium of instruction is Arabic. However, English, especially British English, has been assigned as a primary and/or secondary school subject here. Students have to go through twelve years of schooling before they can enter university. Schools dedicate four to seven forty-five minute periods per week to English language instruction. The medium of instruction at post-secondary institutions in the Gulf region is generally English, despite the fact that it is used only in certain departments. In this region, the culturally specific subjects such as Shari’a, Islamic studies, arts, humanities, social sciences, and education are generally taught in Arabic. And it is for the “universally-oriented” subjects which are commercially based trades and the applied sciences that English is often the language of instruction.

The private schools in Kuwait are divided almost equally between Arabic medium schools, following Kuwait’s national curriculum, and foreign language schools, following other curricula (the Indian Central Board of Secondary Education, British, American, and French Systems). These private international schools that cater to the international community in Kuwait offer education in a combination of languages. But it is also necessary as per the rule in the country all students in the international schools are to study Arabic. Therefore, most of these schools offer different classes for both native speakers as well as Arabic as a foreign language.

Although Arabic is the main language of instruction for primary and secondary schools, English is often the language of education in universities. Except for the public institutions like the Kuwait University where Arabic is the primary medium of instruction, private higher education institutions generally use English as the mode of instruction. Even then, at the Kuwait University, engineering, medicine, allied health and sciences, are taught in English.
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