'Education first': Kuwaitis campaign for government to reopen schools

'Education first': Kuwaitis campaign for government to reopen schools
2 min read
16 March, 2021
Kuwait has kept all students away from educational institutions since March 2020.
A petition by the campaign was submitted to parliament [AFP]
A broad coalition of Kuwaiti teachers, academics and civil society groups have campaigned under the motto "education first" to pressure the government to re-open schools, The New Arab's Arabic-language site report. 

Buthaina Al-Husaini, who is involved in the campaign, told The New Arab that the campaign had support from all sectors of Kuwaiti society, including expatriates.

"It makes no sense to deprive thousands of Kuwaiti students from institutional learning, leaving them to study in a disorganised way which has proven pointless and inadequate," Al-Husaini said.

The campaign submitted a petition to parliament after the latter gained 50,000 signatures.

The text of the petition invoked the right to education as defined in Kuwait's constitution calling on the government to be completely transparent with plans for the sector for the remaining year while urging for a faster return to schools.

The campaign seeks to give parents the option of whether to have their children continue to learn online or move to in-person classes after the vaccination of all school personnel.

Local educational experts in Kuwait believe that distance learning has failed Kuwaiti students. Dr Duna Al-Mashaan told The New Arab that distance learning harmed the future literacy of Kuwaitis and that a return to school, with strict adherence to health protocols, remained the best option for the country.

Out of all Gulf states, Kuwait has kept students away from educational institutions for the longest period of time with schools and universities closing in March 2020.

Officials in Kuwait's education ministry told The New Arab’s Arabic-language site that they raised a recommendation with parliament calling on schools to re-open in April.

The health ministry turned this down saying it would not be possible for children to return to school before summer 2021.

Kuwait has a target of vaccinating at least 65 percent of the population before in-class schooling re-commences, the report added.

"We were the one calling for a return to schools in with health measures in place. But we can't oppose the health authorities, who have exclusive right to make decisions on these matters," Abdul Aziz Al-Kandari, an official at the education ministry told The New Arab.


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