KUWAIT: Education Minister Saud Al-Harbi addresses a session of the National Assembly on Wednesday. – Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Minister of Education Saud Al-Harbi confirmed Wednesday that the health of students and workers at the ministry is a concern to him and that any decision taken is only in accordance with this concern. He said that every country has dealt with the epidemic according to its economic, political and educational capabilities.

The education ministry’s plan focuses on vital issues, such as ending the 2019-2020 school year for the 12th grade, in addition to determining the calendar for the new school year that will start on Oct 4. Harbi drew attention to activating the virtual classroom system. The evaluation for 12th grade students after the decision to cancel the written tests is based on 25 percent for attendance and absence, 25 percent for participation and interaction, 25 percent for duties and 25 percent for reports submitted by students.

He referred to the ministry’s preparations to complete the studies of 12th grade students, as all curricula were uploaded to the MoE website in PDF format, which are accessible to students. All accounts have been activated, preparing awareness programs on how to use the programs for students, teachers and parents, as it can be used across various smart devices, Harbi added.

On the ministry’s preparations for the coming academic year, Harbi mentioned that kindergarten and first grade to third grade learners should not deal with remote education; instead they need asynchronous learning.

Starting from Sunday, Kuwait TV will broadcast recorded classes, including up to 849 lectures for all subjects, while a schedule is being prepared to record the first semester of the new academic year, he indicated. He explained that the accounts activated on the educational portal are of 457,220 students, 73,415 teachers and 10,203 technical supervisors and department heads. Also, ministry leaders can enter the portal and follow work progress.

A ministerial decision has also been issued to reduce 25 percent of fees of private schools approved for the 2019-2020 academic year. Harbi explained that the majors offered for the 2020-2021 are the same majors that were offered during the 2019-2020 academic year, which are open from now, and every student can obtain approval from any recognized university.

Registration for scholarships will be open for all students of private and public education from September 1 to 30, he said, pointing out that 90 percent will be allocated to students of general education and 10 percent for special education students. MoE has presented a detailed plan, including the countries, specializations and conditions on its website.

The board of trustees of private universities decided to reduce 20 percent of fees and higher education scholarships for students studying at their expense. Harbi spoke about the status of the study at Kuwait University, saying that studies will resume for the remainder of the second semester of the 2019-2020 academic year on Aug 9 and will end on Sept 24, followed by a period of tests, in addition to setting up an exceptional summer semester to help students graduate.

He added that the first semester of 2020-2021 will start on Dec 6 and end on April 3, 2021. He presented the steps taken by the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training, from formulating a training plan, collecting scientific content, training faculty and starting work on implementing virtual classes. – KUNA