There's a lot of construction going on all over Kuwait; here, a mosque being built.
Today, Wednesday 28 May, there was a very interesting article in the "National" section of the Kuwait Times: "American style education reform in Kuwait and the Gulf" by Sherin Deghady. Deghady explains that the six members of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman) are experiencing a huge boom in private sector higher education: the GCC is "seeing exponential growth in the number of private institutions." That's partly because the population has risen dramatically since the 1960s; 64 percent is under the age of 16, and during the last six years laws have changed to allow the establishment of private universities and colleges: "the demand for higher education has grown fast and has not yet been fully met." All of the GCC nations are pouring billions of dollars into expanding their private higher education institutions. That big push most often includes creating affiliates and partnerships with American, Australian, Canadian and British universities.
Below, private villas being built across from GUST.
To date, there are 15 American universities operating in the GCC:
"Many US experts see this global drive as having a direct benefit, where these programs can actually ease friction between countries and cultures. At the same time, others agree that overseas programs can help American universities raise their profiles, and eventually attract top research talents."
Those 15 universities include Cornell University that has set up a medical school in Qatar. In Saudi Arabia, rather than open new private institutions, the push is for improving existing public universities. To meet that aim, in 2005 King Abdul Aziz University (KAU)established collaboration with Virginia Tech. Additionally, Deghady writes, "King Abdallah bin Abdulaziz is setting up a new, $2.7 billion public university--King Abdallah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)--where 'minds and the ideas of enlightened men and women' are shared without 'discrimination'. And, for the first time, men and women will study in the same classrooms." In Saudi Arabia 30 percent of the population is under the age of 30.
Below, as seen through the window of a conference room at GUST, the building built for a United Nations office, but the location is not secured enough, so the building is unoccupied.
Qatar and the UAE aim to become the "regional base for world-class higher education." In Qatar five major American universities have opened campuses: Carnegie Mellon, Virginia Commonwealth, Weill Cornell Medical College, Texas A&M University and Georgetown University; a sixth is on the way: Northwestern University. The UAE is seeing a lot of change: George Mason is already set up; Abu Dhabi will soon have New York University and University of Washington campuses; Dubai is expecting Michigan State University and Rochester Institute of Technology, and they've had the American University in Dubai since 1995. Below, developing area around GUST.
In Oman, Al-Mazoon College of Management and Applied Sciences in Muscat established an affiliation with the University of Missouri Science and Technology (formerly known as University of Missouri-Rolla) in 1999; according to MS&T's website, its "role has been to provide assistance in establishing the appropriate curriculum for each of the degree programs offered, develop course syllabi and textbook selection, provide library resources, provide faculty hiring guidelines, and provide help with many other tasks relating to the establishment and operation of a new college."
Here is a list of all the universities in Kuwait.
Almost all of them are licensed by the Kuwaiti Ministry of Higher Education's Private Universities Council (PUC).
* American University of Kuwait
* American University of the Middle East
AUME is a private two-year career college affiliated with Purdue University in Indiana.
* Arab Open University
AOU partners with The Open University (the UK's distance learning university) and is headquartered in Kuwait but has branches in Lebanon, Jordan, Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia; like GUST, it is a Cisco Certified Academy Center.
* Australian College of Kuwait
* Gulf University of Science and Technology
* Kuwait-Maastricht Business School
KMBS is the first private university to offer an MBA in Kuwait; it is the counterpart in Kuwait of Maastricht School of Management (MSM), Netherlands.
* Kuwait University
A couple of days ago I told you about American University of Kuwait, which has signed a memorandum of understanding with Darmouth College. Today we visited Gulf University for Science and Technology, the first private university in Kuwait, opened in 2002. GUST has signed an MOU with the University of Missouri at St. Louis; for an agreed upon yearly fee, UM's their Center for International Studies is assisting GUST with developing academic programs, curriculum, staff and faculty recruitment, organization and structure, as well as providing quality assurance and advice regarding academic, student services, curriculum and course review processess. Essentially, UM functions as consultants and overseers in GUST's development. GUST is an impressive four-year liberal arts university: the buildings are spacious, and the administrators and faculty diverse and highly credentialed; GUST held its first commencement ceremony in June 2007 and conferred diplomas on 400 students. Currently, it serves about 2,000 students. Below, Starbucks at GUST.
Australian College of Kuwait
Today we also visited ACK, the first private vocational education college in Kuwait. We met with several people and Mr. Abdullah Abdul Mohsen Al Sharhan, the Chairman and founder of the college. ACK is also truly impressive; it partners with several Australian universities and Institutes in order to provide technical training, especially in maritine studies and aviation.
ACK is wired to the max! Every innovative tech can be seen on the campus. There was a job fair going on... inside a huge air-conditioned tent (remember that the temp goes up to about 105 degrees F!). ACK and Boeing have a vocational training project that exposes students to hands-on practice with specialized aviation and avionics equipment and aerospace technology. Boeing has provided ACK with a hangar with workshops and a 737-200 airplane that is used as a training platform for aviation maintenance programs.
Below, Dr. Hartley in the cafeteria (called the canteen).
One of our hosts, Masouma, told me about this Kuwaiti singer, Nabil Shoail. Click on each parts of his name to see him perform two of his songs, or just find him on Youtube.com.
We ate lunch at The Avenues Mall, a huge white structure with loads of stores including Ikea and Carrefour, the supermarket, 10 cinemas, 35 restaurants and cafes, including Starbucks. It opened in 2007.