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Extant literature proposes that there are several differences between private and public schools in term of governance, facilities and even the curriculum. These studies do however record both the similarities and differences of these institutions as well as the controversial aspects of these institutions' structures. Like other countries of the world, Kuwait has also various factors that affect the running of public and private schools. In this context, it is true that many several students feel and experience the difference that exists between private and public schools. The general consensus however is that private schools are better as compared to the public schools as postulated by Hannaway (1991) when he argued that"private schools perform better due to greater school level autonomy and their responsiveness to the needs of students and parents."
Public schools have always paid for higher education programs out of general public taxation. This has prompted several students to pay little or no tuition fees at all and has also enabled number of admissions in the public schools as compared to the little or rather fewer admission in the more expensive private institutions. Most students have been able to gain access to public institutions for higher education through selective exams programs; this is mainly in an effort to have of quality education and better performance in these schools which usually enjoy adequate government funding. Due to the difference in students abilities and competition in public schools, students with low ability have a choice of increasing their education level or being uneducated depending on their financial capabilities. This simply means that a student with a low ability can equally be enrolled in a private school but after paying full tuition money which is always very expensive. On the other hand, a student with low ability and lacks enough finances remains uneducated. But studies have shown that there is an increasing demand for public schools due to high demand of higher quality education coupled with high level of students' competition for the government funded learning opportunities.
Overview of the Kuwaiti Education system
The Kuwaiti education system in the early 20th century comprised of very basic education that was delivered through very few Koranic schools with funding from the various wealthy Kuwaiti citizens. The Koranic schools main taught the students how to read write and solve. The initial step towards the modern education system began in 1921.Thse schools mainly concentrated on the teaching of commerce and mathematics. It was later on that that writing skills were introduced. In 1967, it became necessary to compulsory to enroll students or rather school going children to primary schools (Kjeilen,2009).
The Kuwaiti government dedicated a very large sum of money in funding of its educational system. The government also has made efforts to device programs that aid in improving the entry of the Kuwaiti women from education institutions to their professional work life.A considerable percentage of the Kuwaiti education is made up of private schools with about 40% being in the kindergartens and secondary category. The private schools are mainly financed by foreigners while the tuition fees and other subsidies are derived from government support. In a nutshell, the Kuwaiti education system ranks very high and attendance is open to both sexes. The Kuwaiti education is also compulsory and free for all the Kuwaiti citizens.
Social changes in Kuwait have rapidly sped up since the oil boom that started in 1950's. Right before the super affluence which was caused by oil, Kuwait as a country was one of the poorest states both technologically and economically; the people from Kuwait majorly lived and survived on activities such as trading, herding, pearling and fishing. The decades following the development in Kuwait after 1950's attracted many immigrants especially those from poorer states that include Arabs from the Middle East who wanted to be part of Kuwait by Citizenship. As time accelerated to a different Kuwaiti era, more and more developments were established as the native Kuwaitis led much comfortable lives in urbanization, thus leaving most of the labor work to the foreigners who were more of laborers.
Early education foundation was based on only a few Quranic schools that provided majorly religious teachings and basic literacy in Arabic tutelage at the beginning of the 20th century. In the Middle East, Kuwait was one of the nations that flagged the most sophisticated, generous, and comprehensive educational infrastructures that enabled a much extensive education boosting in the country. Al Mubarakiyya school was founded in the year 1912 as one of the most profound and modern educational institutions in Kuwait through funding by merchants to supply clerks who at least had the basic knowledge in fields of commerce, letter writing and arithmetic. This was later followed by introduction of other subjects in the curriculum like geography, history and art. English courses were first stated in the year 1921 by Al Ahmadia School and shortly followed by the first girls' school which was founded and established to offer instructions in home economics, Islamic studies and Arabic.
In the 1930's, the modern period of establishment of educational facilities was initiated and on going; this was after the pearling based devastation of the Kuwaiti's economy. In the year 1935, public education was established after the education system was partly adopted for control by the Kuwaiti state. This chapter initiated the starting of new schools, sending of Kuwaiti students abroad for higher learning and also founding of an education mission by Palestine teachers. Among the schools which were founded, three of those schools merged a total of 600 boys, while the other primary schools were established for girls and were able to accommodate a total of 140 girls. A year later in 1936, a department of education was instituted in order to monitor the running of the public schools, oversee foreign teachers from Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon who were the pioneers of the secondary education program in Kuwait. By the year 1945, a total of 17 schools in the country were established.
In the academic year of 1954-1955, the first technical school and the first kindergarten were established. This clearly shows the rapid acceleration of education facilities in Kuwait since the year 1950's. In the technical college, the first year saw accommodation of 80 students who were enrolled and an increase in number courses which were gradually introduced as demand for more fields of study heightened. The educational developments continued pacing up as a new institution for the blind was inaugurated in the year 1956 with a total of 36 pupils in enrollment records. This was not enough since by the year 1973, there were approximately 1,644 students who were identified to be in need of special facilities for education. Some of these students include the blind, the deaf, and other handicapped ones. All these special students were enrolled in 11 institutions which were specially designed for them in acquiring education as other normal students. Adult education for women officially came underway in the year 1963; this was a result of the existing similar programs for women though dormant(Meleis et al ,1979). This system saw continuous enrollment of approximately 45,000 students of which 18,000 were girls. The education department of Kuwait was then officially inaugurated as the Education Ministry in the year 1962. This establishment gave the education ministry full mandate to oversee and manage all directions in education maintenance and development over the decades.
Kuwait's state education has since progressed since the Kuwaiti nationals got involved in their education process twenty years back from the beginning of the millennium. This progress made has been quite remarkable especially in terms of expatriate to national ratio of teachers who were employed. In the year 1982, there were 24,367 teachers in total; 6,478 teachers were Kuwaiti nationals. The academic year of 1997-1998 saw total of 27,359 teachers employed in public schools and an estimate of 10,000 teachers in private schools. Of the 27,359 teachers in public school, 17,357 teachers were Kuwaiti. The ratio of Kuwaiti teachers to expatriate ones changed from approximately 1.7:1 from 1:3.76. The state of Kuwaiti managed to promote their education process by extensively increasing the number of Kuwaiti teachers between the early eighties to the late nineties. The doubling of the Kuwaiti teachers between the eighties and the nineties has relieved the reliance of foreign professional teachers in Kuwaiti schools. This was a great change but not good enough since most of the Kuwaiti professional teachers were particularly in practice at the lower levels, mostly the primary schools. The entry of male teachers in the profession also saw many of them teaching in primary schools.
Kuwait's transformation into a modern nation with remarkable education institutions has been so, thanks to the government's early decision to distribute the oil revenues to citizens through investment of education, social welfare, housing and healthcare.
The Kuwaiti education system is tailored to cater for the nation's needs. In their endeavor to ensure that most of its citizens are educated, the Kuwaiti government has ensured that the education is provided free of charge. This has been the case since 1966.In order to ensure that the share of national budget that is targeted towards the provision of free education yield good outcome in terms of raising the Kuwaiti Literacy level, the government has made education to be compulsory for student aged 6-14.
The Kuwaiti government has in its vision and commitments the need to provide its citizens with a stable and highly educated human resource base. This is in an effort to meet the social challenges attributed to development challenges as outlined in their Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).This is through the guarantee of an education slot to each and every citizen who wishes to pursue their education to whatever level that they desire. It is quite evident from the number of schools alone, the government's commitment towards ensuring that the Kuwaiti population is properly educated.
The general Kuwaiti education system is made up of elementary, intermediate and secondary schooling systems. As of 1995, there were about 861 state and private institutions (schools) that fell into these categories. Once an individual goes past these three basic levels of education, they proceed to institutions of higher learning such as the Kuwait School and other educational centers where they learn various courses in various fields of study
Cost of private schooling in Kuwait
The private education in Kuwait makes a very crucial element of the Kuwaiti education system. There is a very strong government presence in the private schools in Kuwait. The private schools do enroll about one third of children at the elementary level.The cost of private schooling in Kuwait was a preserve for the high income families only before Kuwaiti was invaded by Saddam.This situation has however changed and students from moderate and modest families also do enroll in the private schools. This move is mainly fueled by the perceived decline in the quality of education in the public school system. Their main attraction is however pegged on the quality education that they desire for their children. There is however situations that necessitate the parents to return their children to the public schooling system due to the increase in the school fees paid in the private schools in Kuwait. Some of these parents resort to this move despite the availability of loans to fund for their children's education (Kuwaiti Times, 2007)
Different students get enrolled in different schools majorly due to their level of performances and their family income, this has always been the question asked mostly and a major source of debate whether students in private schools are better than their counterparts in public schools. Several parents and guardians have developed the mentality that paying extra money for their kids' education makes all the difference as far as quality and success in their children's education is concerned. With this kind of belief in existence, more wealthy parents or guardians prefer paying so as to secure well the future of their children in the private learning institutions. On the other hand, some parents, guardians, students and even college professors believe that education is generally the same whether it is from a public institution or a private one. This depends on the attitude and mental preparedness of the student towards their education and future.
When comparing the public schools to the private ones, it is quite obvious that the quality of education in private schools is much lower than those in public schools. This is mainly reflected in the strategies used when competing for students. In public schools, there has always been a setting of qualification which must be achieved by a student before being accepted for admission; this kind of admission setting is designed to enable public schools act as monopolies whereby zero tuition fees for students with high abilities is initiated. When it comes to private schools, the mode of competing for students is not through the ability of a student but the financial capability. This means low ability students can be admitted so long as they can pay for the private fee; this has enabled many students to accede higher education, thus boosts total income in the economy.
Competition between private and public schools is determined by numerous variables including exams taken as well as general prices in the institutions. An active role played by schools in setting the exams and the tuition fees determines the level of quality of education provided. While public schools have always maximized public surplus. That is, the total sum of students earnings less the all the costs spent in providing education, the private schools have always aimed at maximizing profits; which is, all income generated by the students who have been admitted in the institution less all the expenses incurred in providing education for the students in the schools. This clearly shows that private schools use price as admission policy so as to ascertain their sustainability in providing better education, this is because money from students is basically the only funding they use in running their institutions. As far as price is concerned, there are variations in pricing in different private schools depending on various factors of which educational quality is the most paramount. Thus the better the quality level of a private school, the higher the tuition fees paid by the parents (Tabora, 2008).
Students who attend public schools under public monopoly are basically the same students who are admitted in these institutions under competition. These students have always obtained similar quality in school in both cases. The existence of private schools for higher has raised total welfare since students who have not been admitted in the public monopoly have been given a chance of joining the private schools and get educated. When observing the market partitions in which both public and private schools compete for students, there is a very unique equilibrium that exists in which the private schools are lower in quality than the public schools.
Importance of schooling
The concept of schooling was invented in order to empower the human capital. Previous research on human capital has however been targeted on the quality and quantity of returns that a person obtains as a result of schooling. As advanced by Mincer in his outstanding and standard formulation, the amount of investment invested in a particular cause can be translated into various observable differences that various from one individual to the next (Mincer, 1976). Therefore, in case the investment in an individual's education is considered to decline on a linear scale, an all the amount of investment are considered to be forgone income, a very simple and direct correlation can be derived between the earnings and the years that an individual spends while schooling. The application of the commonly available data portrays that there is a characteristic that is eminent in all the schools allover the world.
Is very important that the world provide their citizens with the best level of education. The importance of the human capital cannot be overemphasized. This is because of the various gains that result of the gainful and observable changes that come with having a population with a high literacy rate. Every country in the world must have its own dependable and experienced workforce in order for it to succeed in its endeavors of being both sovereign and prosperous. This requires the individual countries to device their own efficient and customized education system and curricula that would fully take care of its industrial and intellectual deficiencies. The investment in human capital therefore very crucial for the success of every nation. In certain cases however, it becomes crucial for certain sectors of a nation's economy to require specialist support from expatriates. This is due to the fact that certain courses or rather education needs are never relevant or rather are never heavily invested on in certain specialist areas of the economy. Thus the need for expatriate support in certain areas such as engineering and other very technical areas of the economy.
It is therefore necessary for every government to be heavily involved in the education of its citizens. This is very applicable in almost every country. There is however a generalizability that is used as an indicator of the role and importance of return variation of schooling investment in different nations across the globe (Psacharopoulos, 1994). The exact role of government in education is however still subject to debate and is subject to various different views. It is worthwhile to note that a high returns on the schooling level does not necessarily imply that it is the role of government intervention that has subsequent resulted to the better academic yield. However, in order to conclusively justify the level of government intervention, it is important to take into account various parameters that affect the educational yields or rather outcome. For quite a long time, the role of education to a given society has been researched upon by various scholars. The role of the government has been featured as one of the major determinants of the success in terms of schooling in the lives of the citizens. Kuwait for example has her government put in place various mechanisms to ensure that the citizens and foreigners who attend its education system do get certain critical notions and ideas imparted upon them. Kuwait being a Muslim state, has most of its schooling requirements tailored to meet the strict requirements of the Muslim religion. In fact in earlier years, the rules that govern schooling were very strict. The education of the girl child for example was forbidden for a long time. But later on, partly due to the effects of westernization, the education of the girl child became accepted as one of the steps toward a democratically balanced Kuwaiti society. The role of government intervention can however be justified using certain mechanisms such as market failure.
Importance of resources availability to the quality of education
Several researchers have focused their attention to the important role that is played by the availability of resources to the success in the schooling process in various countries. It is however very important that the amount of resources that are devoted to the process of acquiring proper education can not be directly tied to the outcome of the various schooling processes. In Kuwait for example, the private schools that are in essence run and managed by foreigners are better equipped as compared to the public schools. The analysis that focuses on the role of resources in the outcome of schooling process is however subject to a lot of discussions and debate. This is because of the multivariate nature of the schooling process. Despite the controversies that surround the analysis, there is however a considerable amount of evidence that supports that fact that a positive correlation exists. This is based on the minority of scholarly work that exposes a substantial and positive correlation (Schneider, 2002).
Other studies however, are focused on the simple relationship between the resources and the outcome of the schooling process. In these studies, a simple correlation is devised in order to relate the causal factors and the outcomes of the schooling process. The relationships that have been derived do not however have a systematic review but the causal factors do have a certain level of support in the review process. A proxy relationship can however be conclusively be justified as appropriate. The existence of this stronger relationship that exists between the resources and other causal factors may be applicable. Factors such as the amount of wealth in a student's family background may to a large extent be an influence and a major contributor to the level of student's performance as a result of a dedication and provision of more resources into the schooling of the student. The growth setting however, has no direct proxy relationship. In certain instances, poor proxies have however been assigned to the process of getting a correlation between the amount of resources and the outcome of schooling (Hanushek & Kimko , 2000).
International schooling policies have been supported hugely and are now gaining increased income. Numerous debates have been carried out and the arguments have supported interventions by the government based on spillovers which are as a result of the growth process in education. This is why the general endogenous growth model has clearly shown that education level in an economy influences the growth of a country. That is, if the education level of an economy is low, the growth of that particular nation will definitely drag unlike if the education level is was higher. The structure of the endogenous development model brings in a spillover that people will not take into consideration their own decision making process. Empirical work carried out has underscored the merits of schooling quantity in these particular places. The relationship between individual earnings and schooling have shown the most consistent and strongest support in education performance; when an individual uses own money to finance schooling, the seriousness becomes extreme to the extent that exam performance of that individual turns out to be quite pleasing. While basing reliance on evidence that is limited, there has been quite promising support that exists on the importance of education and schooling in relation to effects of growth as well as the distribution of earnings (Gregorio, 1999)
The economic effects as a result of differences in educational quality of secondary and elementary schools are not well comprehended as the effects of quantity, especially in relation to the aggregate performance the nation's economy. This poor understanding of the implications of quality in education makes it difficult to reflect measurement. It is very difficult to precisely define the quality of education since the term quality reflects the extent of an institutions knowledge base as well as the analytical skills employed as the focal points of learning institutions. To properly build the base of this discussion, this study will rely on data sourced from standardized exams of achievements in academics and student's ability in education. Re lying on this information from standardized tests to reflect quality measures is controversial in a way that there are gaps available in evidence and also the emanated conclusions follow (as stated below). All in all, these measures prove to be the most effective indicators available of quality and have a relationship with the results that we positively satisfy us.
Numerous research studies have been carried out and documented in the field of labor markets which directly focus on personal differences when it comes to cognitive ability and effects in earnings (as well as modify the estimates of returns in terms of quality). 4. The latest direct research study of cognitive achievement have recorded substantial returns in the labor market has measured individual variations when it comes to cognitive achievement. For example, O'Neill (1990), Murnane, Willett, and Levy (1995), Bishop (1989, 1991), Neal and Johnson (1996), Currie and Thomas (2000), Grogger and Eide (1993), and Murnane et al. (2000) each conclude that the earnings advantages are quite substantial when standardized test are highly achieved. These conclusions have been extracted from various approaches.
Bishop (1989) is much concerned about the errors that result in the most testing environments and emphasize on extreme care when dealing with that problem since it has very dramatic consequences on the estimated importance of the test variations. On the other hand, Grogger and Eide (1993), O'Neill (1990), Neal and Johnson (1996), and Bishop (1991) have greatly put their reliance on the latest labor market information as well as representative sampling which suggests that earnings advantage to measured variations in skill is much greater than those of the earlier times and earlier research studies (even when reliability of the test is not corrected.
In Kuwait, just like in other quickly-developing education systems, one main domain of interest is ensuring that the quality of education that is offered by both private and public providers is up to standards needed. This paper elaborates by way of a thorough review the history of development of Kuwaiti education system since its initiation. It considers several quality systems that are currently employed in other countries in the Gulf States so as to identify the effects of the education systems both private and public on the attitudes of the students towards schooling.
Two main results emerge from the present analysis. The first suggests that there are no significant effects from class attendance. The second indicates that smaller classes do not translate into gains in achievement. Other results include the lack of significant peer effects and evidence of variability in teaching effects, which is, however; also not significant. These findings need to be interpreted carefully. For instance, the result of no attendance effects may not necessarily indicate that attendance does not matter per se: on the contrary, it can instead be the case that attendance does matter but that the students in our data choose optimally how many classes to attend, so that marginal variation around that attendance level does not translate into any gains in terms of achievement.
The outlook of the 21st century Kuwaiti education
The Gulf States have undergone a number of serious challenges both on their economic and political existence. These numerous challenges have been brought about by the prosperity and accelerated growth as well as the heightened levels in social services. There tends to be some sort of deception in some certain levels when one looks at the external wealth and modernity of some of these Gulf States. For example, it is true that Kuwait as a country is in possession of 9.5% of the proven oil reserves in the world (out of a combination of 64.9% of all Gulf States) and many of the Kuwaitis are very rich people thanks to their oil rich nation. While this is so, the oil revenues in Kuwait are very modest when comparisons are made to the gross domestic product of the developed countries of the world. The fluctuating prices of oil have greatly influenced the reliability of development as well as long term planning; this is so especially when the price per every barrel remains low on the world market like it was in the eighties and the nineties. According to reliable sources, studies have shown that the low oil prices in 1980's was the cause of deficit budget operation by the Gulf States; which was barely the size of Switzerland's GDP if they were combined i.e. (U.A.E, Kuwait, Oman, Iran, Bahrain, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar). The Gulf States wealth illusion is as a result of control of the oil reserves by only a hand full of people who easily access the world markets through exports in ships; this clearly explains the long gap between the rich and the poor; which is bad for the economy.
These Gulf States have had to deal with the grapples that affect their budgetary uncertainties in the oil markets. Some of these problems are public sector dominance, visible and hidden unemployment, poor revenues for the huge populations, dominance of foreign workers among, and also poor participation in the decision making process with the exception of Kuwait which has an elected body that represents it.
The core feature of this analysis, however, is how the quality of schooling influences the national and economic growth. It is obvious that schools (no matter their geographical locations) have numerous variations as far as knowledge and general quality is concerned. These differences are always very difficult to deal with since the implications for comprehending the core issues are emphasized in this study.
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- Tabora, J (2008).Making Quality Higher Education More Accessible in the Philippines: Someone Has To Pay the Price