Kuwait Education System

Educational is inevitable linked to the economic and social conditions prevailing in any society. In the period prior to the discovery of oil in Kuwait (the beginning of the 20th century), education was limited to the teaching and reciting of the Holy Quran or the three basic Rs: reading, writing and arithmetic.

The economic and social conditions at the time did not require more than this. Brisk trading and economic activity, however, changed all this and led to the establishment of the first school in Kuwait. In 1911, the Al-Mubarkiya School, followed by the establishment of the Al-Ahmadiya School in 1921. Both schools, however, concentrated merely on arithmetic and correspondence.

A more structured education system came into being in 1936, when a Council of Education was set up. In 1956, the government adopted a major education plan that divided formal education into four categories: Kindergarten, with a duration of two academic years; Primary with a duration of four academic years; Intermediate, with a duration of four academic years; and Secondary, with a duration of four academic years. All schools and institutes, public and private, are subject to regulations formulated by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education. The Private Education Department of the Ministry of Education supervises all foreign schools in Kuwait, which must be registered with the Department.


The Ministry provides free kindergartens for Kuwaiti children between the ages of four and six. There are a large number of expatriate schools for expatriate children, aged between two and four years.

Elementary, Intermediate and Secondary Education

Primary education is a right and is offered free of charge by the State. It is obligatory for all Kuwaitis from the age of six to 14 attend school - primary school to the intermediate school. Attendance at schools run by the State is limited only to Kuwaiti children.

Private schools for Arab expatriate children receive generous government support, land to construct schools, and free textbooks. Some assistance is also provided to non-Arab schools. Private schools for non-Arab children follow the curricula of their respective home country.

The school year runs from about mid-September to mid-June. Expatriate schools usually have three days off in October; breaks of a fortnight each, twice a year; and all official holidays. The school week is Saturday through Wednesday. Most schools start at 7:45 am and finish at 2 pm, though timings vary a bit between summer and winter and between schools for different nationalities.

University and Adult Education

Kuwait University was established in 1966, with the aim of providing academic, professional and technical rehabilitation, and supplying the country with scientifically and practically qualified manpower in different fields. Kuwait University is open to expatriate students, provided their grades meet the requirements for admission.

State-funded adult education and vocational training is provided by the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET).

Additionally, there are several private institutions in the country that offer a variety of full and part-time courses in various subjects such as business studies, secretarial skills, computing and languages.

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