Ministry of Education (MoE) is reportedly considering opposing views on whether to conclude the school year early, or to resume and make up for lost days using the summer holidays.

The suggestion to truncate the school year was sent in a letter addressed to the Cabinet by the Chairman of Kuwait Union of Private Schools, Omar Al-Ghurair. The letter urged the government to issue a directive concluding the ongoing academic year at the earliest in view of the closure of schools prompted by the COVID-19 infection in the country.

In a meeting with Minister of Education Saud Al-Harbi on Wednesday, the union also stressed the need to protect the financial interests of private schools, if a decision for early closure of school-year 2019-2020 was implemented, by requiring parents to pay the remaining fees in full so that schools could pay salaries, rents and meet other expenses. The union added that in case parents refuse to pay the pending fees, then the state must take steps to compensate private school owners for any financial losses.

In addition, the union urged the minister to consider the results of the first semester of students as their final results for the 2019-2020 academic year. Clarifying this, the union pointed out, “We had a similar successful experience on merging semesters after the Liberation in 1991, when two school years were merged into one.” The union also expressed objection to the idea of e-learning on grounds that students are not fully trained to use the system, the lack of student-teacher interaction and the lack of a clear assessment and follow-up methodology to be used.

The union warned against resuming the 2019-2020 school year under the current circumstances, because despite the efforts of the Kuwaiti government in this regard, resuming school will not be favored by parents concerned about their children’s health, and the reluctance of students to attend due to fear of infections. “A survey was conducted by the union and a majority of parents were in favor of concluding the school year and considering the first semester results as final results,” the union explained.

On the other hand, the Kuwait Society for Education Quality has taken the opposite view and called for completing school curriculums and not using any excuses not to do so. “We will have enough time to make up for lost time during the summer, even if this leads to cancelling a semester or two the following summer,” the society said in a statement. The society pointed out that this was essential to ensuring the quality of academic achievement in schools, universities and applied education colleges, as they are the foundation for preparing youth capable of building and leading the nation in future.

The society hailed the attitudes of teachers who prioritized the love of Kuwait, the future of its children and the soundness of the educational process by not calling to settle for what has been already taught and not extending school during the summer to protect their own interests. In addition, the society urged the Cabinet and Harbi not to compromise the quality of academic achievement and to set a clear plan to resume and complete the teaching of curricula, even if that meant using part of the summer holidays.

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