Schools call to end academic year, seek fees

By A Saleh

KUWAIT: Kuwait Union of Private Schools urged Education Minister Saud Al-Harbi to issue a decisive decision concerning concluding the school year as soon as possible so that related measures could be taken, according to a letter sent by the union’s chairman Omar Al-Ghurair to the Cabinet. In a meeting with Harbi yesterday, the union stressed the need to protect private schools’ financial rights if a decision is made to conclude the 2019-2020 school year, which requires parents to pay the remaining fees in full so that schools can pay salaries, rent and other expenses.

The union urged the state to compensate private school owners for the financial losses they could suffer so that they can pay their dues in case parents do not pay the remaining fees. In addition, the union urged Harbi to accredit the results of the first semester as the final results for the 2019-2020 academic year. “We had a similar successful experience on merging semesters after the liberation (in 1991) when two school years were merged into one,” the union elaborated, calling for allowing teaching and administrative staff to leave as soon as possible to help the government focus on fighting the coronavirus epidemic and alleviate the burdens exerted in fighting the virus and power consumption.

The union also expressed objection to the idea of e-learning on grounds that students are not fully trained to use the system, the lack of student-teacher interaction and the lack of a clear assessment and follow-up methodology to be used. The union warned against resuming the 2019-2020 school year under the current circumstances, because despite the efforts of the Kuwaiti government in this regard, resuming school will not be favored by the public because of parents’ fear and concerns about their children’s health.

“A survey was conducted by the union and a majority of parents were in favor of concluding the school year and considering the first semester results as final results,” the union explained. It said more problems will impede the resumption of schools, such as students’ reluctance to attend due to the fear of infections and the fact that resuming school will lead to crowding, which will help the virus spread. Finally, the union stressed that in case schools resume on March 29 or if the suspension is extended till mid-April, this will prolong the school year, increase power consumption and negatively affect the next academic year’s schedules.

But the Kuwait Society for Education Quality called for completing school curriculums and not using any excuses not to do so, especially in view of the possibility of extending the school suspension. “We will have enough time to make up for lost time during the summer, even if this leads to cancelling a semester or two the following summer,” the society said in a statement. noting that this is a must to ensure the quality of academic achievement in schools, universities and applied education colleges, as they are the foundation of readying youth capable of building their nations at all times.

The society hailed the attitudes of teachers who prioritized the love of Kuwait, the future of its children and the soundness of the educational process by not calling to settle for what has been already taught and not extending school during the summer to protect their own interests. In addition, the society urged the Cabinet and Harbi not to compromise the quality of academic achievement and to set a clear plan to resume and complete the teaching of curricula even at the expense of part or the entire summer to make up for time lost in this semester.