The grants can be used at top universities in 13 countries, although details of these are yet to be published. Majors will be chosen to reflect public and private sector needs; physics, chemistry and maths are among those already flagged for backing.
The grants can be used at top universities in 13 countries
Like many Middle East and North African countries, Kuwait is trying to improve education standards as it tries to diversify its oil-dependent economy. Petroleum accounts for 43% of GDP, 87% of export revenues and 75% of government income.
Increasing study abroad will be part of this and it seems outbound numbers are rising. More than 2,000 Kuwaitis enrolled at UK universities in 2011 – up considerably from the mid 2000s – while 3,722 attended US institutions in 2012, up from 2,998 in 2011 (a rise of 24%).
As well as establishing the scholarship scheme, Minister of Higher Education Nayef Al-Hajraf has launched a number of initiatives to guide young Kuwaitis in their educational choices. In one scheme starting at the end of July, those applying to study in the US will be able to meet and ask advice of Kuwait’s cultural attaches in Washington and Los Angeles.
Of the scholarships, he said that 50 would be allocated to students with special needs and another 50 for those wishing to study special needs studies. The top 50 high school graduates in the country will also automatically be granted awards.