Structure of Education in Kuwait

Education in Kuwait is a right for all its citizens and aims to make them involved, effective, and thoughtful members of the society. It was by a conscious government decision that this remarkable education system was brought about to build high performance at all levels in the society—institutional, cultural, economic, and social.

The educational system in the country comprises three levels— elementary, intermediate, and secondary, each of which requires four years to finish. Elementary education begins usually when a child reaches the age of 6. Once the students finish elementary education, they are eligible for the intermediate levels. Beyond the intermediate level, free education stops, for government subsidy does not cover secondary education.

Structure of the Educational System

School Education

Kindergarten is not compulsory, but is provided for free to all citizens. The entry age is 4 and the duration is usually 2 years.

The duration of primary school is 4 years and the age bracket is 6 to 10.

The length of this program is 4 years and it accommodates students between the age of 10 and 14 years. A certificate or diploma awarded to students on completion of this level is the Intermediate School Certificate.

Secondary Education

Secondary education is not compulsory in Kuwait. It comprises a four-year cycle that consists of grades nine through twelve for students between ages 14 and 18. Students in grades nine and ten follow a common curriculum. However, when they are in grades eleven and twelve they may have a choice between science or arts specializations. The other choices that they may have at this level are religious and special education secondary specializations. On successful completion of this level a Secondary School Diploma called the Shahadat Al-Thanawiya-Al-A'ama is awarded to the students.

The Ministry of Education is the body that oversees all attributes of this level, whether public or private, for both general as well as Islamic education.

Higher Education

For further studies, students need to attend University Programmes. The Kuwait University is oldest university in the country. The university has over 30 departments and centers in all in the following colleges: Arts; Commerce, Economics, and Political Science; Engineering and Petroleum; Law; Islamic Law (sharii 'a) and Islamic Studies; Medicine; Allied Health and Nursing; Science; Education; Graduate Studies; and the Women's College. Other than this university there are three other institutions for higher education-- the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET), the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts, and the Higher Institute of Musical Arts. For non-university higher education there are various colleges and training centers, as well as a Cadet Academy (Military).

Education for Foreign Students

There is also provision for foreign students, though for limited numbers, provided proper means and facilities are available. The selection of such students is made on the basis of merit and national interest. The criterion for application is a Bachelor's degree with a GPA of a minimum of 2.67 on a scale of 4. To be accepted for scholarships, certificates must be either in Arabic, English or French or translated into one of these languages and verified. This must further be attested by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of External Affairs and the embassy of Kuwait in the student's country. For obtaining a scholarship, one has to be chosen by the one's government or by an institution or a corporation accredited by the government to study in Kuwait. The Kuwait National Commission for Education, Science and Culture is the only organ that has the right to consider each application and take a decision.

Children with Special Needs

For children with special needs Kuwait has the Khalifa School for Children with Special Needs. This school provides consultation and assessments made by a team of specialists that comprises development nurses and psychologists, speech therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, vocational trainers and special education teachers. For developing the curriculum and overseeing the teaching to such special children qualified and experienced teachers are employed.
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