Govt and its problems

7 November 2017

We come across so many problems such as the low level of education, rising administrative deterioration, bribery, etc, to the extent a citizen, a resident, and a government employee accepts bribe. For them, this is something normal but it damages the economy and unjustified spending cannot be curbed. Add to this, the big disparity between salaries of employees in various government agencies, the one hundred and fifty thousand cases of fraud to obtain the Kuwaiti nationality and double the number of people who hold dual citizenship. To add insult to injury we rue the imbalance in the demographics and inability to build a single flawless road, failure to address the issue of the so-called stateless people and other problems. These problems are really small, but enough to distract you from the other big issues and the government doesn’t want anybody to know anything about them. We don’t need a genius to notice the inability of the government to solve any of these problems. The difficulty is not in the problems but in taking firm decisions. The annual report of the Ministry of Education for 2015/2016 indicates the Ministry’s budget was 1.8 billion dinars, including 1.6 billion for salaries and 200 million for the rest of the things. A funny person says seriously if the government gave parents the money to spend on each student in a public school in cash and asked them to enroll their children in private schools they could provide better education at a much lower cost. The former ministry, under Minister Bader Al-Issa, had proposed the privatization of one educational zone as an experiment, but the Education Committee of the National Assembly rejected the proposal even before it was presented. The ministry then proposed privatizing the management of two schools, an idea that would have inevitably reduced the cost of education by half and raise the level of outputs, but this project was also rejected. Instead, the ministry in its new plan increased the construction of new schools in modern areas, which will increase cost and reduce the ability of follow up and control. The figures of the Education Ministry show public schools every year need not less than 10 million dinars for maintenance which raises a big question mark. The figures also show the number of public schools is now 800. Each male student in the elementary level cost the ministry KD 4,102 and a female student KD 3,443; each male student in the intermediate costs 4,362 and 5,763 for girls and in high school KD 5,603 and 5,862 for each male and female student respectively. A male student with special needs cost the state KD 14,486, and female KD 19,191. Add to this the cost of education for illiteracy and adult education. From all of this, we see senior education officials are busy with administrative issues, and barely have enough time to develop the educational process. Without the World Bank’s efforts to develop education, the subject would have been hopeless.