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Reduce paperwork and improve performance
May 20, 2017, 5:15 pm
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Minister of Education Dr. Mohammad Al-Fares

Acknowledging that performance levels and the quality of education imparted by many public schools in Kuwait leave a lot to be desired, the country’s Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Dr. Mohammad Al-Fares said that public education lacked the administrative flexibility enjoyed by private educational institutions.

Admitting that public education is subject to bureaucratic rules and bylaws that are supervised by the Civil Service Commission, whereas the private sector has its flexible rules and work mechanisms, the minister emphasized the need for introducing a comprehensive and flexible system capable of developing public education and enabling it to compete with private education.

He called for streamlining the Ministry of Education by transforming “thinking patterns and management approaches, as well as reducing paperwork and improving performance in the Education Ministry.

Saying that the role of his ministry is mainly to enhance the quality of education process in the country, Minister Al-Fares regretted the lack of an institutional evaluation system, especially for assessing the performance of schools. Meanwhile, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education Haitham Al-Athari maintained that “the situation in public and private schools is the same.

Describing claims that Kuwaiti parents are opting for private foreign schools when searching for developed education for their children as "untrue", the undersecretary said, “There are high and low-quality private schools and the same applies to public school.” Al-Athari also affirmed that teaching methods in both schools are identical.

He said that the Ministry of Education does not rely on the tautological methods, but rather on skills-focused ones. Public schools methods focus on teaching students thinking, interaction, teamwork and technological skills, he clarified.

However, Dr. Fatma Al-Hashem, who sends her children to an American school in Kuwait, said she has chosen an American curriculum because it focuses on harnessing different skills and teaching children critical thinking and innovation.

"Foreign schools also organize many activities and events and are not confined to studying. Such activities are not available in public schools due to the high-density of students in classrooms," she said, adding that foreign schools also help students master the English language.

She believes that the private educational institutions have succeeded in making the school an attractive place for students by giving greater attention to the essence of the educational process, changing traditional teaching methods, heeding students' needs and better equipping them with the skills they need for the future.

Another Kuwaiti parent, who expressed her deep conviction that the best investment is in the children’s education, said, "I noticed since the beginning that private education focuses on developing student's personality through teaching them self-reliance, interaction and teamwork, as well as on the need to abide by laws and regulations. Moreover, teaching methods applied in foreign schools help discover students talents.”

Ahmad Saleh, a father of a school-going child also echoed a similar view. "I have chosen foreign schools because of their discipline and advanced educational systems that do not focus on memorization and dictation, but on skills," said Saleh.

Saleh explained that educational methods in the private sector depend on teamwork, mind activity and searching for information in different sources. He stressed that development of curricula and educational system in public education should be a top priority for the state.

He said foreign education was "an indispensable necessity" to catch up with scientific development. Public education does not "cope with the spirit of the time and therefore cannot be base for a true scientific renaissance," he said.

 

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