Administration, Finance, & Educational Research
Kuwait belongs to the Arab GCC, founded in 1981, and whose other members include Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The objectives of the GCC call for "coordination, integration and unity between the member states in all fields." This cooperation occurs in economic and financial affairs, commerce, customs, communications, education, and culture among other areas. Joint organization relating to education includes the Arabian Gulf University and the GCC Education Bureau. The ministers of education from GCC countries hold regular sessions as do the ministers and officials from other government departments.
Thus, in the administration of education in GCC countries such as Kuwait, emphasis is given to the coordination and calibration of educational systems with other GCC members. Arab Gulf states have a common heritage in terms of background and governmental style, and in terms of similar solutions to the similar social and economic challenges that they face. All Arab Gulf states depend heavily on foreign labor, and they all have been focusing in recent years on indigenization and nationalization of their workforce. Hence, the Kuwaitization of Kuwait's workforce is emphasized and effected through a reforming of the educational and training systems to align better with labor market needs, an alignment which is needed in other GCC states as well.
The following statistics show the education level of the Kuwaiti workforce. The data was obtained from Kuwait Information Office Education Statistics.
- No Formal Schooling: 9,564 Kuwaitis and 495,159 non-Kuwaitis have no formal schooling, which is 40.7 percent of the total labor force.
- Below High School: 81,432 Kuwaitis and 278,079 non-Kuwaitis have a below high school education, which is 28.9 percent of the total labor force.
- High School: 39,373 Kuwaitis and 142,518 non-Kuwaitis have a high school education, which is 14.6 percent of the labor force.
- University/Professional: 79,003 Kuwaitis and 116,191 non-Kuwaitis have obtained a university/professional education, which is 15.8 percent of the total labor force.
- Labor Force Totals: the entire Kuwaiti labor force consists of 209,836 Kuwaitis and 1,033,740 non-Kuwaitis, for a total of 1,243,126 workers.
With 8.9 percent of the government budget directed toward education, educators are well financed in the initiative to address the disparity between education and other sectors of Kuwaiti society. The low achievement standards, stifling bureaucratic controls, high levels of dropouts, and student failure are problems that the wise use of financial resources should be able to address. There exists no consensus among GCC states as to how to best address some of the common challenges in education, but research suggests privatization, development of relevant curricula, and better correlation of education with input from employers as potential ways to begin addressing some of the common educational issues in GCC member states.
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