Education & Training Sector in Kuwait

An Expert's View about Colleges and Universities in Kuwait

Posted on: 21 Sep 2010

The market in Kuwait for educational supplies is strong and increasing steadily. It is a market of good opportunities where UK companies can succeed.

Education & Training ? [State of Kuwait] Sector Report Education & Training Sector Report State of Kuwait Produced by: Irene Ronald Deputy Head of Trade & Investment British Embassy Kuwait Last revised: December 2009 Whereas every effort has been made to ensure that the information given in this document is accurate, neither UK Trade & Investment nor its parent Departments (the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office), accept liability for any errors, omissions or misleading statements, and no warranty is given or responsibility accepted as to the standing of any individual, firm, company or other organisation mentioned. Published October 2009 by UK Trade & Investment. Crown Copyright © Education & Training ? Kuwait Table of Contents OVERVIEW 3 OPPORTUNITIES 3,4 CHARACTERISTICS OF MARKET 5,6 KEY METHODS OF DOING BUSINESS 6,7 MORE DETAILED SECTOR REPORTS 8 PUBLICATIONS 8 EVENTS 8 CONTACT LISTS 9 Page 2 of 9 Education & Training ? Kuwait OVERVIEW Developing the Kuwaiti human resources and supporting the management development efforts are among the strategic goals of Kuwait. Kuwait has recently introduced the ?Vision 2030? report where the government plans to change the dynamics of the labour market so that Kuwait?s economy will be fully driven by the private sector by 2030. Kuwaitis have expected the State to provide guaranteed lifelong employment and over 90% of Kuwaitis work in the bloated public sector as a right given to them by the constitution. However, reforms in the labour market alone will not be sufficient to end the current over- reliance on public sector employment. To prepare future generations of Kuwaitis for the demands of a private sector-led local economy, a stronger education system is urgently needed. Although Kuwait devotes substantial resources to developing education at all levels, however, there is virtually no practical workplace preparation in its educational system. This has consequently increased interest and activity in vocational training and ?training for work?. Currently, the objective of training centres in Kuwait is to develop the skills of state employees in order to promote their performance and acquaint them with the latest in their field of specialisation. Most organisations in Kuwait have set up a centre for on-the-job training to reach that goal. The country has been eager to be distinctive and is planning to offer the best in the field of technical, occupational, and handicraft education. Decisive initiatives and stronger measures are now being studied, to be implemented soon, to tackle the educational challenges of the country. OPPORTUNITIES Education is key to reform. In particular, the need for more skills-based learning, through better ICT, to increase the employability of Kuwaiti youth across the private sector. Kuwait?s draft education strategy demonstrates a commitment to developing a modern, qualitative and outward looking education strategy The current educational strategy includes 31 projects for all school levels to be implemented within the next four years, such as establishing an educational TV station, utilising personal computers, using white/active smart boards and other relevant technologies with a minimum cost of £1 billion. The Ministry through one of its departments has set-up committees and teams to look into proposals to update the general goals of public education development and the 2005-2025 educational strategy. Their mission is to consider new educational developments, scientific studies and experiments that are being integrated in countries like the UK. The education minister recently stressed the necessity of implementing the Supreme Council for Education plan to build up new state of the art educational facilities. In addition to that, the cabinet has recently approved a budget of £1.5 billion for other development projects including amending the syllabus in co-operation with international education consultants. The Ministry has also recently finalised preparations for implementing the e-education project for all educational levels. The budget allocated for implementing this project is £60 million. Teachers and other staff will have to undergo extensive training for the full implementation of this project. We believe that the educational sector will remain profitable within the coming years as the government is keen on improving the standard of education in Kuwait. The private sector too is forging ahead with new schools and even universities, the market for equipping these ran to some £250 million last year. Page 3 of 9 Education & Training ? Kuwait Current Projects: ? A new University City is being built at the cost of £4 billion. The ?Sheikh Salem Al Sabah University? will accommodate more than 50,000 students. Work on this project is in its planning stage. The City will provide a modern campus with state of the art facilities for academic staff, students and other employees of Kuwait University. The Government of Kuwait has allocated 5.2 of land in the Al Shadadiyah area for the project. The new campus will be co-educational with segregated facilities. It will include several faculties, dormitories, sports facilities and auditoriums as well as car parks for several thousand vehicles. There will also be a medical school and an associated 400-bed teaching hospital. ? The government is also building a new headquarters for the Ministry of Education at the cost of £250 million. The project will start in 2010 and finish in 2013. It involves the design and construction of a 12-storey building for Ministry of Education in south Surra over an area of 40,000 sq m. The building will have three basements, 1600 car parking units and a 600-seat theatre. The total built-up area of the development is 246,800 sq m. ? The Ministry of Education is about to issue a public tender for supplying smart boards & related accessories for 350 public schools, 30 classrooms per school. New language laboratories will also be established in schools. ? Supplying schools with state-of-the-art computers, DVD?s, and other advanced ICT equipment. Each Teacher will be given a notebook as a teaching aid. ? New (technology based) libraries will be established within each school with new educational books/magazines ? The government is also planning to build a huge library, which would accommodate more than 4,000 visitors, at a cost of approx. £30 million in Sharq area. The design for the project is in its last stages. ? Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, who is responsible for training in the oil & gas industry has recently modernised its training centre at a cost of £5 million. KPC has admitted 100,000 trainees between 2002 and 2008 and is continuously looking for international companies offering new training courses in new and innovative methods. ? Kuwait Ports Authority is planning to privatise its research and training activity. The new plan will include corporate sector training, specialised maritime training and higher studies and advanced courses. ? Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development has recently allocated £2 million to make use of the expertise of local and international companies to train Kuwaiti engineers to work in the private sector. UKTI publishes international business opportunities gathered by our network of British Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates worldwide. These opportunities appear in the Opportunities portlet on the relevant sector and country pages on the UKTI website. By setting up a profile you can be alerted by email when relevant new opportunities are published. New or updated alert profiles can be set in My Account on the website. Page 4 of 9 Education & Training ? Kuwait CHARACTERISTICS OF MARKET Size of market: Government Expenditure Oil revenues have allowed Kuwait to build an extensive educational system, yielding a literacy rate of 82.9 percent. Kuwait spent a total of £2 billion on education in 2006, which is an 8.7 percent increase compared to the total expenses of £1.4 billion in 2002. Government expenditure on education increased by 6.7 percent for the academic year 2001/02; 7.1 percent for 2002/03; decreased to 6.3 percent in 2003/04; and again increased by 8.7 percent in 2005/06. Kuwait will continue to invest heavily in education, but it will ensure that these sizeable investments translate into superior results. Trends in market As a result of increasing competition, both regionally and locally, and a quickly progressing society, the Kuwaiti education sector is under pressure to revamp itself in order to meet the needs of a more affluent and demanding population. To do so, the government has made great efforts to not only encourage the growth of private education, but has also committed itself to heavily invest in overhauling its public education system. At present, state schools are restricted to the children of Kuwaiti nationals, thus requiring the children of expatriate families to seek education at private schools. However, due to a shift in public opinion, 30% of Kuwaiti children are now attending private schools, in favour of a Western curriculum and instruction in English. At university level, more and more students are finding an education at a foreign institution more desirable, as it is felt that they provide better preparation for a career in private industry. There are currently five international institutions in Kuwait, with licences for 10 more recently becoming available, but further growth may be prohibited by the government's stance on not allowing international schools to offer the same courses as Kuwait University. The six member countries of the GCC are also playing a fundamental role in developing the education system. In 2006, they agreed to conduct a comprehensive study of the education system, aimed at developing a unified curriculum. At a September gathering of undersecretaries-general of GCC education ministries, members also agreed to study proposals for new textbooks and other teaching tools, in addition to reordering of which sciences are emphasised and a revamping of how they are taught. Discussions also focussed on new standards that would be more modern, more stringent and more uniform than those currently in use across the region. Main competitors Kuwait is a market of tremendous good opportunities where UK companies can succeed. The total UK exports to Kuwait in 2008 were £537million, an increase of 17% from £457million in 2007. The market in Kuwait for educational supplies is strong and increasing steadily, particularly buoyed up by the surplus funds coming out of the oil profits. The US leads in the educational supplies with around 19.6% of the market, followed by Japan, the UK and other Far Eastern countries. British products & services are well accepted as reliable and of high specifications, but it is important to have competitive pricing. Page 5 of 9 Education & Training ? Kuwait Although British companies have good reputation in the market, they must endeavour to tap into this lucrative market by responding promptly to enquiries and to ensure that their prices are competitive. They also have to bear in mind that government tenders take time to mature and that they should not lose patience. On occasions there is a tendency by British suppliers to over-specify on projects whereby they become non-competitive. There is also a feeling in the market that British businessmen hesitate to invest in business travel to Kuwait and only turn to this market when their domestic sales and those to their better markets are not doing well. Demand conditions and supply conditions Kuwaitis currently pursuing a higher education most frequently choose to study in the fields of Business Administration, Finance and Arts. There is a dearth of students pursuing careers in Engineering, Medical or other technical or scientific disciplines, creating an acute shortage of professional skills that the country currently needs. There appears to be no joint planning between the Ministry of Education and the labour market stakeholders to match the output of professionals with the needs of the market. Economic factors ? Kuwait: among the richest oil-states in the world. ? Small Population : 3.5 million people (of which 1.0 million Kuwaitis) ? High per Capita Income : USD 35,000 ? GDP: USD120 billion ? Real GDP Growth : 8% ? Inflation currently a concern of government; 10+% ? Highly dependent on Oil: - Half of GDP - 95 % of export revenues - 80 % of government income ? Proven Crude Oil Reserves : 99 billion barrels (8% of world reserves) ? Production capacity: 2.5million bpd (target: 4 million bpd by 2020). ? External Ratings: AA- (S&P) ? Foreign Investments: USD240bn managed by Kuwait Investment Authority KEY METHODS OF DOING BUSINESS Kuwait shares many characteristics with other GCC markets, but in view of the extent of government involvement in the market, strategies need to take careful note of public tender procedures, as well as the time required for market development, and its related costs. Developing sound business relationships does take time. But with the degree of public sector overlay, time-to-market in Kuwait can be longer than in other GCC countries where privatization has been more extensive. Tenders Public authorities in Kuwait are generally required to purchase all equipment and commodities, and to commission work, only through an independently administered tender process. The Central Tenders Committee (CTC) administers tender processes. The client institution i.e. the public body requiring the goods or services, in this case the Ministry of Education and related organisations, draws up the specifications and the particular conditions that it wishes to apply, reviews the pre-qualified companies and evaluates the bids on a technical basis. Page 6 of 9 Education & Training ? Kuwait Some public bodies may have their own tendering procedures, but no matter who administers the tender, the procedures applied must be the same as tenders administered directly by the CTC. Tender announcements, invitations to pre-qualify, pre-tender meetings, and amendments to conditions and specifications, are only published in Al-Kuwait Al-Youm, the official gazette. Doing Business in Kuwait Kuwait?s Commercial Companies Law provides for the establishment of the following types of companies and ventures. ? Limited liability company ? Shareholding company ? Partnership ? Joint venture ? Commercial agency ? Branch All the above, with the exception of ?joint venture? possess a separate legal identity. British companies wishing to do business in Kuwait are advised to operate through a local agent or JV partner. This is especially required for government contracts. A local agent or partner will be more finely attuned to the local business environment and therefore, best suited to deal with complicated issues that may arise. The agent/partner can facilitate the required registration on approved supplier lists of appropriate government entities and companies. Choosing the right agent/partner and formulating an equitable agency agreement is therefore a critical element in doing business in Kuwait. Agency representation The approach in Kuwait to agency representation is a little different from other GCC markets. In view of the size of the business community, there is a need to ensure that there are no potential agency conflicts or overlaps ? and that the scale of your operations matches those of your potential local associate. If your business involves government tenders and contracts, it is important to ensure that your local associate is of good standing with the government, and has access to key decision- makers. Strict commercial agency laws mandate a careful approach to appointing a local representative. Local legal advice is particularly recommended to ensure that agreements are structured to serve your marketing strategy, as there may be alternative models to consider, if you are bidding for a single project ? rather than seeking a continuous presence in the market. As is common practice throughout the GCC, agency agreements are closely regulated, in Kuwait?s case by Law on Commercial Agencies of 1964. Formal agency relationships must be registered and the law provides considerable protection to the Kuwaiti agent, including provision for compensatory payments for unreasonable termination or non-renewal of contract. Given these circumstances, there is value in seeking appropriate advice concerning available options before entering into a formal agreement. Page 7 of 9 Education & Training ? Kuwait Other background information on doing business in Kuwait can be found on UKTI?s website. Simply go to the Kuwait?s country page where you will find information on: ? Economic background and geography ? Customs & regulations ? Selling & communications ? Contacts & setting up ? Visiting and social hints and tips MORE DETAILED SECTOR REPORTS Research is critical when considering new markets. UKTI provides market research services which can help UK companies doing business overseas including: ? Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS). Bespoke research into potential markets, contacts and support during your visits overseas. ? Export Marketing Research Scheme. Advice on market research and help to contact subsidised market research administered by the British Chambers of Commerce on behalf of UKTI. Contact your local International Trade Advisor if you are interested in accessing these services, or for general advice in developing your export strategy. When considering doing business in Kuwait, it is essential to obtain legal, financial and taxation advice. For further details, please contact: Carl Bruce Senior Manger - Qatar, Jordan, Kuwait & Iraq UK Trade & Investment - Middle East Team, Kuwait Desk Kingsgate House, 66-74 Victoria Road, London SW1E 6SW, Tel : 020 7215 4949 Email : Irene Ronald Deputy Head of Trade & Investment British Embassy, Kuwait Tel : (965) 2259 4365 Email : URL : PUBLICATIONS "Middle East Economic Digest, MEED",, published weekly by MEED, 33-39 Bowling Green Lane, London EC1R ODA and covering broader business developments in the Middle East. EVENTS Gulf Educational Supplies and Solutions (GESS): 23 - 25 February 2010 - Dubai, United Arab Emirates. URL: Page 8 of 9 Education & Training ? Kuwait UK Trade & Investment?s Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) can help eligible UK businesses take part in overseas exhibitions. Attendance at TAP events offers significant benefits: ? possibilities for business opportunities both at the show and in the future ? a chance to assess new markets and develop useful contacts ? grants are available if you meet the criteria ? UKTI staff overseas will be available to assist delegates Find out if you are eligible to apply to attend this event, and more about the support UKTI can offer, on the UKTI Market Entry web page. Details of TAP events can be found in the Events portlet on the Kuwait page. Other Market Visit Support may be available via your local International Trade Advisor. CONTACT LISTS Ministry of Education PO Box 7, Safat 13001, Kuwait Tel: (965) 2483 6800 Fax: (965) 2483 7829 Public Authority for Applied Education & Training PO Box 23167, Safat 13092, Kuwait Tel: (965) 1806 611 Fax: (965) 2256 3601 URL: Kuwait Chamber of Commerce & Industry PO Box 775, Safat 13008, Kuwait Tel: (965) 1805 580 Fax: (965) 2243 3858 URL: UKTI?s International Trade Advisers can provide you with essential and impartial advice on all aspects of international trade. Every UK region also has dedicated sector specialists who can provide advice tailored to your industry. You can trace your nearest advisor by entering your postcode into the Local Office Database on the homepage of our website. For new and inexperienced exporters, our Passport to Export process will take you through the mechanics of exporting. An International Trade Adviser will provide professional advice on a range of services, including financial subsidies, export documentation, contacts in overseas markets, overseas visits, translating marketing material, e-commerce, subsidised export training and market research. Page 9 of 9
Posted: 21 September 2010