OER in Kuwait

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by Manal Al Marwani

>> There is a full PDF version of the report, with all pictures and tables, at Media:OER_in_Kuwait.pdf


Kuwait is an independent country with a written constitution. It has an Amiri regime, the family of Mubarak AlSabah, and a national parliament of 50 members chosen by people of Kuwait every 4 years. Islam is the official religion in Kuwait and Arabic is the official language.

Kuwait is located in the north-western corner of the Arabian Gulf, between latitudes 28.30 – 30.06 north and longitude 46.30 – 48.30 east. It is bounded on the north and north-west of the Republic of Iraq, and to the south and south-west Saudi Arabia, also bounded by the east of the Arabian Gulf. Kuwait has commercial importance as a result of its location, which is a natural outlet for northeast of the Arabian Peninsula, and covers an area of 17.818 square kilometres. According to the Central Statistical Office, the population of Kuwait was estimated at 3.328.136 people, 1.038.598 Kuwaitis and the rest are foreigners, and most of the state's population is living in Kuwait City and its suburbs, particularly in the areas along with the coast of the Arabian Gulf.

Figure 1: Population Pyramid of Kuwait

See https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ku.html

In Kuwait, oil accounts for almost 50% of GDP and 89% of the revenues (2010/2011 Budget Report). As in most oil producers’ countries in the region, the raise in global oil prices is revitalizing the economic growth and increasing the government budget revenue that result in higher budget expenditures. Accordingly, due to Kuwait highly vulnerable situation in relation to world oil prices, the recent five years development plan advocates diversity in economy, attracts more investment, and consolidates privatization.

For further information see:

  1. http://www.e.gov.kw/sites/kgoarabic/portal/Pages/Visitors/AboutKuwait.aspx
  2. http://www.mof.gov.kw/Budget/Default.aspx
  3. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ku.html
  4. (2013). Kuwait Information Technology Report – Q1 2013. London, United Kingdom, London, Business Monitor International: 1-79.

Education in Kuwait

Since its independence in 1961, Kuwait believes in education as an effective apparatus of the political, economic, social, and cultural development process. However, formal education began in Kuwait since 1911 when the first public school for boys was established depending on donations from rich people and merchants. Girls did not receive any opportunity until the establishment of the first girls’ school in 1936. At the same time, 1936, the first Council of Education was established and teachers were employed from other Arab states predominantly from Palestine, Egypt, and Syria.

After the discovery of oil in the late 1930s, the need for formal education is increased, but the Council of Education has not changed into Ministry of Education until 1962. Students were sent abroad to study for the first time in 1941 to Bahrain. The first two high schools for boys and girls were established in 1953 and the first kindergarten in 1955. The compulsory education law was initiated in 1965 following the establishment of Ministry of Education. This law indicated that all Kuwaiti between the age of 6 and 14 must attend primary and intermediate schools. In 1955, Kuwaiti technical school was founded to prepare manpower for industrialization and modernization era of the country. Training institutes for teachers established in 1949 to qualify teachers with diploma in education. These institutes turned into Bachelor degree colleges in 1993. Kuwait University, the only public university till today, was founded in 1966 when there were only four colleges: College of Science, College of Arts, College of Education, and College for Women. In 1967, more colleges were founded: College of Law, College of Islamic Studies, College of Business, College of Economics, and College of Political Science. In 1973, the College of Medicine is established while the College of Engineering and Petroleum is established in 1974. The College of Graduate Studies launched in 1977. The Colleges of Allied Health Sciences, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Dentistry were also founded. In 1995, the College of Business Administration is established in Kuwait University instead of the College of Business. To give higher education more attention, the Ministry of Higher education was founded in 1988. Nowadays, Public Authority for Applied Education and Training supervises 5 colleges and 10 institutes in different applied specializations besides Kuwait University which consists of 16 colleges and various general services and work centres.

In order to create a suitable climate for the development of the educational process in Kuwait, to develop education, improving outcomes, make a quantum leap in the current educational systems, and creating an educational system according to the scientific principles, the National Centre for Education Development was launched in 2006. Its attributions supervised by both the Minister of Education and the Minster of Higher Education.

Sourced from:

  1. Ministry of Education http://www.moe.edu.kw/SitePages/kw_his.aspx
  2. Public Authority for Applied Education and Training http://www.paaet.edu.kw/mysite/default.aspx
  3. National Centre for Education Development http://www.nced.edu.kw/
  4. Kuwait University http://www.kuniv.edu/ku/

Higher Education in Kuwait

There is only one governmental university in Kuwait besides 5 colleges and 10 institutes running by Public Authority for Applied Education and Training.

Moreover, there are 8 accredited private institutions of higher education:

  • Gulf University for Science and Technology
  • Kuwait-Maastricht Business School
  • Arab Open University – Kuwait Branch
  • Australian College of Kuwait
  • American University of Kuwait
  • American University of Middle East
  • American College of Middle East
  • Box Hill College Kuwait.

Quality procedures

To ensure conformity with all rules and stipulations for licensing private educational institutions, Private Universities’ Council (PUC) which is a government institution chaired by Minister of Higher Education and membership of 8 of experts in higher education was established.

Private Universities’ Council (PUC) – see http://www.puc.edu.kw

Accredited Institutions – see http://www.puc.edu.kw/en/index.php?com=category&act=view&id=18

Other Organizations

Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) was emerged in 1967 by the Arabian Oil Company, Ltd. (Japan), and in implementation of its obligations under the Convention on the oil exploration agreements with the Government of the State of Kuwait. The Institute was reorganized by an Amiri decree in 1973, where he became a follower of the Council of Ministers and under the supervision of the Board of Trustees with its mission to promote scientific and applied research, particularly in matters related to industry, natural and food resources and other primary constituents of national economy. In recognition of the importance of scientific and technological research in advancing economic and social development of the country, an Amiri Decree issued in 1981, which announced the establishment of the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research officially, as a public institution with independent legal position, under the supervision of the Board of Trustees chaired by a minister Chosen by the Council of Ministers. This degree entrusted the Institute with undertaking research and scientific and technological consultations for both governmental and private institutions in Kuwait, The Gulf region and the Arab World.

Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) is a private, non-profit organization, established by an Amiri Decree issued in 1976. KFAS is managed and administered by a Board of Directors (BOD), chaired by H.H. the Amir of the State of Kuwait. It aims to develop a strong awareness campaign in favour of science and scientific education and culture, enhance and integrate research capacity in and among scientific institutes in Kuwait, support and develop the system of the national science, technology and innovation, support and develop scientific and technical capabilities of the private sector, and contribute to building a knowledge-based economy. It has three centres: the Scientific Centre http://www.tsck.org.kw/, Dasman Diabetes Institute http://www.dasmaninstitute.org, and Sabah Al Ahmed Center for Giftedness and Creativity http://www.kuwaitcreativity.org.

Sourced from:

  1. Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences http://www.kfas.com/
  2. Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research http://www.kisr.edu.kw/Default.aspx?pageId=104&mid=210

Internet in Kuwait

As part of the GCC Consortium, submarine cable, fibre optic and terrestrial satellite networks cover Kuwait. Currently, Kuwait has four licensed Internet Service Providers (ISPs): Qualitynet, Zajil International Telecom Company K.S.C.C, Fast Telecommunications (Fastelco), and United Networks, and more than 50 sub-ISPs to lease internet access to users under government internet regulations and policies. The total internet users reported at the end of December 2011 are around 1.497 million users with 3% higher penetration from a year earlier. The youthful population demographics are driving the growth.

Being aware of the potential of ICT to improve both social and economic development, Kuwait has allocated significant budgets to develop a digital economy and national level policies for e-government. A variety of key factors guides and enhances the spending and approaches of ICT. First of all, the government makes every effort to create an effective e-government structure including all the country's ministries and other state bodies. a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Singapore was signed in 2004 under which the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) had developed an Implementation Blueprint for the establishment of a new IT Entity and an e-Government Blueprint for the State of Kuwait. Another MoU was signed a year later, 2005 to ascertain Singapore as an advisor to Kuwait on Information Technology and e-Government matters in order to made use of the successful experiences around the world as Singapore initiated its e-Government Project early in 2000, which made Singapore a pioneer in this field.

Subsequently, four national projects have been declared by the Central Agency for Information Technology: Kuwait Government Online (KGO), The Kuwait Government Call Center (KGCC), Kuwait Information Network (KIN), and Kuwait News Project (Memory of Kuwait Project).

The first one is KGO, the official portal of the State of Kuwait (www.e.gov.kw). It provides governmental information and services to all citizens, residents, and visitors in addition to the governmental and business sectors in the state of Kuwait. KGO portal is available 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week, in Arabic and English. It also includes Government ePayment System (Tasdeed), a governmental system provides a fast and secure way to pay governmental invoices and fees at any time.

The second one is KGCC, a 24-hour facility that serves all users of the e-government services through Kuwait Government Online portal website (http://www.e.gov.kw/sites/KGOArabic/Portal/Pages/InformationPages/ContactUs.aspx).

The third is KIN, a new network that enable non-governmental organizations and government agencies to exchange information securely at higher speeds and more cost-effective (http://www.cait.gov.kw/National-Projects/Kuwait-Information-Network.aspx). It will be mandatory among all government agencies in Kuwait and all non-governmental entities that wish to communicate with a governmental entity. This network will improve the information and services and enhance efficiency in government operations.

The fourth is a national database (memory of Kuwait) to include everything published in Kuwaiti newspapers since the declaration of independence of the State of Kuwait in the early sixties of the last century, which is accompanied by the release of a number of Kuwaiti newspapers daily monitored the general situation of the country in different variables as reflected cultural history and social and coping with political and economic changes over forty years, which can be used by researchers and students to track the real evolution of the state at all levels and in various fields from independence till the era of technological and economic development. In 2010, 350,000 articles have been indexed and archived (http://www.cait.gov.kw/National-Projects/Kuwait-News-Project.aspx).

Health sector has also implemented ICT solutions and projects to systematize national healthcare delivery and management. In the Saudi e-Health Conference 2010, organized by Saudi Association for Health Informatics (SAHI), it was announced by the Kuwaiti minister that the Ministry of Health of Kuwait is seeking to set up an integrated electronic communication network to link up all sectors and departments of the ministry including hospitals, medical centres and clinics. Several projects are in process as part of the overall governmental plan for e-government working for setting up Electronic Medical Records, Primary Healthcare System, Hospital Management Information System, Health Registration System, Health Insurance System, and Birth and Death Information System.

Another key factor is the hydrocarbon sector as Kuwait National Petroleum Company KNPC is investing in ICT to enhance productivity, and boost overall business agility. Moreover, the banking sector is a major user of technology as banks and other financial services organisations look to become more efficient and launch new services. The same for Telecoms, which is another growth area for technology, as service providers with their intentions to increase their revenues facilitate more offers and services to customers. Furthermore, construction is another key sector that drives the use of ICT services in order to be one of the region's emerging construction markets to cope with the high level of population growth, economic growth and high oil price. Not to mention, the Kuwaiti consumers who have high disposable incomes and have a tendency to be well informed about up-to-date technology trends. For example, in 2013, the Kuwaiti computer hardware market is expected to reach a value of US$ 401million, making Kuwait the third-largest market in the region after Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

In education, substantial budgets are allocated to improve education facilities throughout the country and a significant portion will be spent on ICT to set up internet cafés in schools and provide computer training. Kuwait has what is called a Digital Awareness Programme to train hundreds of thousands of employees in the government and other sectors in ICT skills. The programme aims to train 100,000 government employees and 200,000 in other sectors over a period of five years. The government is also promoting an e-Citizenship Programme, which aims to provide citizens with the skills needed to use e-services such as bills payment, fees, criminal fines, and so on. Such training is among the major government priorities.

Sourced from:

  1. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ku.html
  2. Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore http://www.ida.gov.sg/
  3. (2013). Kuwait Consumer Electronics Report – Q1 2013. London, United Kingdom, London, Business Monitor International: 1-52.
  4. (2013). Kuwait Information Technology Report – Q1 2013. London, United Kingdom, London, Business Monitor International: 1-79.
  5. Kuwait Government Online http://www.e.gov.kw/sites/kgoArabic/portal/Pages/KGD.aspx
  6. Central Agency for Information Technology http://www.cait.gov.kw/Home/News.aspx#.UQzw1b-bWSp
  7. Staff, I. U. and U. S. A. I. B. Publications (2009). Kuwait Internet and E-Commerce Investment and Business Guide: Regulations and Opportunities, International Business Publications USA.
  8. Global Arab Network http://www.globalarabnetwork.com/

Copyright in Kuwait

In early 1960 Kuwait adopted the positive civil legal system as its law. Copyright was embedded in general codes. In March, 1986, Kuwait joined The Arab Convention for the Protection of Copyrights, which was ratified by the conference of ministers of cultural affairs in Bagdad in November, 1981. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) held two sub-regional seminars in Kuwait, with the cooperation of the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (a governmental entity), in 1995, and 1998, respectively. The object of these seminars was to introduce the means for intellectual property protection, and to invite Kuwait to join treaties and agreements for the subject.

The 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization, known as the WIPO Internet Treaties, and their accompanying statements, have strengthened copyright in an equitable way, extending protection of their legitimate rights to authors and other right-holders in the multimedia digital communication environment at an opportune moment (López, 2002).

According to WIPO, On December 19, 1999, Kuwait government issued the copyright code by the law decree no. 5/1999. The code was named "Decree-Law No. 5 of 1999 concerning Intellectual Property Rights". On December 29, 1999, Kuwait government enacted “Law No. 64 of 1999 concerning Intellectual Property Rights including Explanatory Memorandum”. The new code has a new number (64/1999), with no other changes except those concerning the new form of the code (Alsamdan, 2006).

Copyright law applies to any newly created literary works of arts, letters, and science, irrespective of its value, type, or style. It includes written literary works; literary works produced orally as lectures, speeches, and any other oral works; theatrical literary works and musical plays; musical literary works with or without songs; literary works performed by means of movement or steps; movie literary works, and audio, video and radio literary; painting literary works as well as works of drawing, painting, architecture, sculpture, engraving and lithography; photographic works; handicraft or industry works of applied art; illustrations, maps, plans, sketches and three-dimensional works related to geography, architecture or science; computer works such as programs, databases and similar works; works derivative or translated from original works; and title of the literary work if this is originally created. Copyright law also covers any work that has been translated, summarized, amended, or re-shaped to a new form under the permission of the author (Articles 1, 2 and 3 of the Law on Copyright).

Kuwait is a member of The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) which all adapts with most of the modem copyright rules and principles.

Sourced from:

  1. Database of GCC Laws- Kuwait http://www.gcc-legal.org/MojPortalPublic/CountryHome.aspx?country=1
  2. UNESCO- Copyright Bulletin Vol. XXXVI, No. 3, July-September 2002 http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/ev.php-URL_ID=6473&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html
  3. The World Intellectual Property Organization http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/details.jsp?id=7576
  4. The World Intellectual Property Organization http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/details.jsp?id=2784
  5. Alsamdan, A. (2006). "Development of Copyright Law in Kuwait." Arab Law Quarterly 20(3): 211-239.
  6. Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) http://isesco.org.ma/index.php?lang=ar
  7. Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) http://www.alecso.org.tn/

E-Learning in Kuwait

Since the discovery of oil, the oil sector plays a major role in building up the nation. When it comes to e-learning, we can find petroleum companies are taking the lead. Technology and innovations draw the vision and mission of oil corporations and companies, therefore, e-learning is part of the training scheme for the employees. For example, among the main objectives of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation is to sponsor relevant research and development activities with a view to developing and applying innovative technologies and approaches in its operations and to develop technical skills and expertise throughout the organization. The Oil Sector’s E-Library as an idea was initiated by Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), and then adopted by Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) and later spreading across all K-companies. It is the first specialized digital library of its kind in the Middle East, which provides opportunity to the employees of KPC and its subsidiaries to peruse millions of books, scientific researches and oil publications easily for free. It also provides numerous ‘E-books’ which normally require large amounts as subscription charges. Furthermore, as it is open round the clock, the library can facilitate users in getting the required E-books, essays and oil research papers effortlessly. It can also cater to more than one user to read and download the same document. Employees can easily access it through the website http://klibrary.kockw.com/Default.aspx .

The Dasman Diabetes Institute, based on The World Health Organization definition of eLearning as "The use of any electronic technology and media in support of learning” designed interactive eLearning modules or short clips, using communication tools such as compact discs, online websites, online forums, and games to develop a knowledge-based society in Kuwait targeting all age groups and to promote health awareness and healthy lifestyles.

In K-12 education, some public schools have been served as pilot sites for an e-learning module. The Ministry of Education hopes to integrate such projects in all schools.

In higher education, although the Arab Open University branch and headquarter in Kuwait seems to be the only e-learning initiative

However, the University of Kuwait, which is the only governmental university in the state of Kuwait, has among its main objectives the integration of new technologies. Moreover, the university launched the Distance Learning Centre in 2002 to promote the culture of e-learning at the University of Kuwait, facilitate the learning process through advanced technology, and strengthen the system of university. The centre works to build links with universities and international institutions, as well as the participation in conferences around the world in the field of education to illustrate the experience of the University of Kuwait in distance education, and it is planned to continue expansion and development in the coming years. Also, the Kuwait University has five main campuses connected through a converged network. The portal helps in receiving information and registering for academic courses. As well, Kuwait University has electronic system for payroll, and supplier payments.

In private universities, for example, the Multimedia Educational Unit at Gulf University for Science & Technology (GUST) supports academic departments and faculty members in renovating teaching and learning approach by the use of multimedia and new technologies, to create technology-based learning environment. The Unit assists academics in the development of educational software and multimedia presentations to provide a digital library including pictures, audio, video, animation, and graphics and making this available to all GUST users.

Furthermore, the Australian College of Kuwait (ACK) provides Business Students with access to Business Diploma E-Books through the college portal.

In Kuwait-Maastricht Business School (KMBS), the Information Centre support and advance the educational mission of KMBS by providing access to a number of books and other scholarly collections and information resources to support the teaching, learning, and research activities via web-based library software and search portal. The provided collection specializes in Business and Management studies books and databases.

For more information see http://virtualcampuses.eu/index.php/Kuwait

Sourced from:

  1. Kuwait Petroleum Corporation http://www.kpc.com.kw/ar/default.aspx
  2. Kuwait Petroleum Corporation App https://itunes.apple.com/kw/app/kpc-app/id469438585?mt=8
  3. Kuwait Oil Company http://www.kockw.com/sites/AR/Pages/Default.aspx
  4. Oil Sector E-Library http://klibrary.kockw.com/Default.aspx
  5. Dasman Diabetes Institute http://www.dasmaninstitute.org/
  6. Arab Open University http://www.arabou.edu.kw/index.php?lang=ar
  7. Kuwait University http://www.kuniv.edu/ku/ar/
  8. Distance Learning Centre http://www.kuniv.edu/ku/ar/Centers/DistantLearning/index.htm
  9. Staff, I. U. and U. S. A. I. B. Publications (2009). Kuwait Internet and E-Commerce Investment and Business Guide: Regulations and Opportunities, International Business Publications USA.
  10. Gulf University for Science & Technology https://www.gust.edu.kw/
  11. Australian College of Kuwait http://www.ack.edu.kw/Default.aspx
  12. Kuwait-Maastricht Business School http://www.kmbs.edu.kw/

Open Educational Recourses (OER) in Kuwait

Among the reasons that have made the State of Kuwait think seriously about initiated ICT projects is the access to information and knowledge. Even if the Open Educational Resources (OER) is not clearly stated in any educational policies in Kuwait, but there are some initiatives.

Globally noticed and listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) (http://www.doaj.org/doaj?func=home&uiLanguage=en) is the peer reviewed, Kuwait Radiology Journal published by Jaber Al Ahmad Armed Forces Hospital in Kuwait.

Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) has online open publications which can be considered as OER as they include: Books, Conference Proceedings, Reports, Series, and Arabic Publications beside the Scientific and Technology Magazine.

Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) is another contributor of OER in Kuwait with its open publications of Al-Oloom Magazine, and Al-Taqaddum Al-Ilmi Magazine, as well as the Technical Reports available online. Al-Oloom Magazine (Majallat Al-Oloom) is the Arabic edition of one of 17 international foreign language editions of Scientific American (http://www.scientificamerican.com/page.cfm?section=international) published by KFAS since 1986. It keeps non-specialist Arab reader up-to-date with scientific and technical information and provides Arab specialists with a global knowledge in their field. Al-Taqaddum Al-Ilmi Magazine (in English: Scientific Advancement Magazine) is a periodical magazine concerned about the scientific movement in Kuwait and published by the Scientific Culture Department every three months. It aims at bringing to light the efforts exerted by nationals in different scientific fields, and the publication of scientific and cultural information. The magazine designed to spread scientific knowledge among all sectors of society.

The Open Knowledge Zone is the Kuwait Health Learning Zone for all healthcare professionals. It contains the latest guidelines, protocols, and open access education resources. Even if it is not completely opened for all users, but it has, for example, Open Source Diabetes Curriculum (https://learning.health.org.kw/mod/page/view.php?id=62) which is a selected OER for understanding diabetes mellitus. It is part of Kuwait-Scotland eHealth Innovation Network that brings together the Dasman Diabetes Institute, the Ministry of Health in Kuwait and The University of Dundee, in collaboration with NHS Tayside and Aridhia Informatics Limited. The vision of this network is to provide access to comprehensive clinical data from multiple healthcare providers through world-class e-Health information services and blend the best of the available e-learning content from Kuwait, the University of Dundee and the NHS in Scotland (Kuwait Health Network KHN Platform http://www.dasmaninstitute.org/khn-platform).

Sourced from:

  1. UNESCO – Global Open Access Portal http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/portals-and-platforms/goap/access-by-region/arab-states/kuwait/
  2. Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research http://www.kisr.edu.kw/Default.aspx?pageId=104&mid=210
  3. Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences http://www.kfas.com/
  4. Open Knowledge Zone https://learning.health.org.kw/

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