National Centre for Education Development

Overview of Education System

Kuwait is an Arab Gulf state where the dream is to provide ample free education for all children regardless of gender, social class, or special education needs. The education system comprises kindergarten, primary, intermediate, and secondary schooling, followed by tertiary education, all of which are provided free of charge.1

Despite government schooling being readily available, many Kuwaitis choose not to send their children to government schools but instead enroll them in private schools. Although private education is not funded fully by the government, it is subsidized generously.2

Kuwait has a centralized education system. Within the Ministry of Education, decision making rests with few people: assistant undersecretaries, district heads, managers, and supervisors.

Public schools in Kuwait are distributed among six educational districts. Each district has a districts officer who takes responsibility for teacher allocation, student assessment, and local administration. Private schools must be accredited by the Private Education Administration of the Ministry of Education, which monitors staff qualifications and school conditions.

The Kuwait education system consists of three stages: the primary stage, which lasts five years (Grades 1 to 5, ages 6 to 10), the intermediate stage, which lasts four years (Grades 6 to 9, ages 11 to 14), and the secondary stage, which lasts three years (Grades 10 to 12, ages 15 to 17). Although the government provides two years of kindergarten (ages 4 to 5), it is not compulsory.

Public schools in Kuwait and private Arabic schools follow a national curriculum in all subjects. Non-Arabic private schools follow the common curriculum for the subject of Arabic only, and follow curricula similar to those of their affiliate countries for religion and other subjects.

Languages of Instruction

The official language of instruction in Kuwaiti public schools as well as Arabic private schools is Arabic, throughout all the stages of education and for all subjects except foreign language subjects (i.e., English, and in the arts section of secondary schools, French). Foreign private schools in Kuwait use English or the language of their affiliate country for teaching mathematics and science.