“The Kuwait Development Plan (KDP) 2015-20 puts into motion the government’s broad goal of transforming the country into a regional trade and financial hub by 2035. The plan is a two-pronged strategy to push through major economic reforms to empower the private sector and to implement a significant pipeline of ambitious projects over a five-year period. The KDP was initially drafted with a $155bn budget for key developments and will focus on more than 500 projects to build core infrastructure, utilities and housing across Kuwait, and to expand the country’s vital oil and gas sector. The government has acknowledged that the National Development Plan (NDP) 2010-14 was not successfully implemented, hence a large number of projects from the previous plan have been included under the new strategy. According to the new plan pulls 421 projects from the previous plan and identifies 92 new projects that will be implemented within the next five years. “

Source: The Oxford Business Group

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An oil-rich country in the Middle East, Kuwait is sending its students abroad in growing numbers following several years of economic growth and expanded government scholarships for overseas study. Immigrant’s account for roughly 69% of the country’s total population of four million, and the number of young people aged 15-19 is expected to surpass 250,000 by 2016.

The economy is dominated by oil, which makes up around 85-90% of export revenues. Overall GDP growth in Kuwait has slowed in the last few years, decreasing to 1.5% in 2013 due to a reduction in oil output following a period of high growth in 2011 and 2012. Growth is expected to lag behind that of other oil producers in the Middle East in 2015, including Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia.

Nevertheless, the purchasing power of individual Kuwaiti families has continued to expand over the last several years. World Bank statistics indicate that Kuwait has had impressive growth in GDP per capita for the last five years, increasing from around US$39,000 in 2010 to US$52,000 in 2013. According to investment advisory firm Alpen Capital, the education market in Kuwait has been expanding at a modest pace, but leading especially to opportunities for private-sector providers.

A 2011 analysis by Booz & Company (now “Strategy&“), Kuwait spends approximately US$10,000 per student enrolled at public schools and US$5,600 per student enrolled at private schools, the populations of which are dominated by the children of expatriates. The British Council, meanwhile, estimates that total education expenditures in Kuwait will reach US$8.3 billion by 2016.

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Demand for study abroad

Along with other Middle Eastern states such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait is sending an increasing number of its students abroad for higher education through government scholarship schemes. In addition, many students are self-financed due to the spending power of Kuwaiti families. While Kuwait is a small country, a significant proportion of its students travel abroad for higher education, both because they can afford to do so and because of the prestige of foreign degrees.

UNESCO reports that Kuwait sent 16,799 students abroad in 2012, with the US, Canada, and the UK being the top three receiving countries. Other top destinations for Kuwaitis include Jordan, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and India.

It appears, however, that total outbound may have grown well beyond that 2012 level in the ensuing years. As the leading study choice for Kuwaiti students, the US has seen impressive growth in the last few years alone, especially at the undergraduate level (only 8.3% of Kuwaitis in the US were studying in graduate programmes in 2014).

The Institute of International Education (IIE) reports that, after peaking in the early 2000s, the number of Kuwaiti students in the US declined to a low of nearly 1,600 in 2006/07 and then subsequently rebounded.

Beginning in 2007/08, the number of students from Kuwait has increased at a double-digit rate for the past seven years, increasing most recently by 42.5% from 2012/13 to 2013/14 to reach a record-high of 7,288. Kuwait entered the top 25 sending countries for the first time in 2012/2013 and moved up to 21 for 2013/14, due largely to an expansion of Kuwaiti government scholarships.

The number of students travelling to the UK to study also increased sharply from 2006/07, roughly doubling through 2012 to reach just under 2,000 students in that year.

Source: ICEF MONITOR

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Did You Know?

  • Kuwait is the 2nd most free economy among the Middle East
  • Kuwait is the 4th richest country in the world in terms of Per Capita Income
  • Kuwait has the world’s 5th largest proven oil reserves.
  • Kuwait issued 4500 scholarships to study abroad
  • Source: PIE NEWS
  • Kuwait Human Development Index is very high as per

Source: UNDP

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