This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Capital: Kuwait City
Population: 3.0 million (July 2021 est.)
GDP (Purchasing Power Parity): $209.7 billion (2019 est., in 2017 dollars)
Currency: Kuwaiti dinars (KD)
Language: Arabic (official), English widely spoken
UNESCO Student Mobility Number
Kuwait has 24,437 students studying abroad according to UNESCO.
CIA World Factbook
39.25% of the population in Kuwait is under 25 years of age.
Kuwait spends heavily to improve its educational system. The government has spent $1.14 billion on facilities, including $882 million to rebuild old schools as well as create new facilities. The budget allocated for the fiscal year 2020/2021 is approximately $7 billion.
Scholarships and Study Abroad
Kuwaiti students who have a high school diploma or equivalent are eligible to apply for the Ministry of Higher Education Scholarship Program to undergraduate studies. There is no limit on the number of scholarships. In July 2021, the Kuwaiti government provided 4,003 external scholarships (against 15,929 internal scholarships awarded to local private universities and the country’s only public university, Kuwait University), an increase of 40% compared to 2020 (2,848 scholarships). Of this number, 31.5% of the scholarships (1,245) awarded are provided to students pursuing education in the United States. Engineering in the U.S. remains the number one destination for Kuwaiti students with a wide range of programs offered by the U.S. compared to other countries. Engineering scholarships comprised 66% of total scholarships to the U.S.
In 2018, the Ministry of Higher Education has adopted a new regulation stating that Kuwaiti students seeking to obtain a scholarship to study in the United States are required to obtain a score of 5 in IELTS (an equivalent of TOEFL) to be accepted in the program which may impact the number of new students awarded scholarships from the Government of Kuwait. This is one of the contributing factors as to why the number of international scholarships has declined over the last two years. The Ministry of Higher Education hopes to increase the number of scholarships available to its students to address the volume of high school graduates seeking higher education abroad.
As of 2019, and before the pandemic period, approximately 13,000 students were studying in the United States. Due to several reasons (including the uncertain global coronavirus situation, the Health Ministry’s recent recommendation to postpone travel plans, the Education Ministry’s unclear position on resuming public sector education) the percentage of U.S. scholarship recipients has decreased compared to prior years comprising 31.5% of the total scholarships. According to UNESCO, Kuwait has 24,437 students studying abroad, 10,525 among them in the United States.
Schools and Universities in Kuwait
In total, there are approximately 1,300 public and private elementary and secondary schools in Kuwait. The Ministry of Education (MOE) has begun to revamp its entire curriculum, starting at the primary school level. The project is to be phased in over a period of five years and will cover all subjects, from social sciences to mathematics and science. Industry experts expect the demand for training programs in a variety of fields will increase due to Kuwait’s multi-billion dollar national development plan. Of the 30 international schools, eight are American and the rest follow Canadian, British, French, or Indian curricula, with English-language programs.
There are eleven universities in Kuwait. Kuwait University, the only public university, graduates 4,000 students each year. Students earn degrees from a variety of programs. On May 4, 2004, the government issued a decree establishing a new Kuwait University City in the Shedadiya area, with a campus including various colleges, scientific centers, and other facilities, allowing an increase in the university’s student body. The University has partially (some faculties) opened the doors to students in September 2019. The other universities are private: the American University of Kuwait, American University of the Middle East, The Arab Open University, Australian College of Kuwait, Kuwait International Law School, Kuwait Maastricht Business School, Algonquin College, Kuwait Technical College, Box Hill College, American International University and Gulf University of Science and Technology.
There is also high demand for vocational and non-degree training. The Ministry of Defense contracts with a foreign language institute to offer English language instruction to its personnel. The Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) delivers various training programs for the private and government sectors. The Public Authority for Applied Education and Training provides programs for graduates seeking employment at government ministries, departments, and agencies.
According to industry sources, the government has created a $5.6 billion education market that is steady and offers many opportunities for U.S universities and suppliers of products and services. The United States leads the industry with 20% market share, followed by Japan, the United Kingdom, and several Asian countries. U.S. products are highly respected by the MOE, but companies seeking business in Kuwait must be competitive, flexible, and well-connected to compete for government projects.
Best Prospect Services
- ESL and TOEFL
- Certified Programs: executive training, management training, IT training, security training, and ongoing professional development
- Undergraduate degrees in pharmacy, engineering, dentistry and cybersecurity and graduate business degrees
- Exam review courses for U.S. medical board exams
The Government is encouraging studies in certain disciplines, including dentistry, nursing, and pharmacy, due to the high demand for healthcare workers, as well as science, technology and engineering (STEM) programs including cybersecurity and meterology. The U.S. universities targeting Kuwaiti students should approach the Cultural Office of the Embassy of the State of Kuwait in Washington, D.C. and request inclusion on its list of pre-approved universities. Universities must meet the specific criteria of the Kuwaiti Embassy’s Cultural Office in order to be included on this list. To confirm if your university is already on the list, visit the SIS Kuwait Culture D.C. website.
The U.S. Embassy in Kuwait places significant emphasis on the promotion of American education and training institutions. The Embassy regularly promotes various education fairs, including the USEG Expo, EduEx Expo, and International Student Network (ISN) Expo. The Embassy also provides advice and counseling to students on applying to accredited U.S. education institutions.
Another effective way to promote your university to Kuwaiti high schools is via the U.S. Commercial Service Gold Key Service. We can arrange 1-2 days of appointments with high school counselors and principals. Universities that have utilized this service in the past have found it to be very effective in establishing business relationships with local international and bilingual schools.
For additional information, please contact Commercial Specialist Rasha Al-Muhtaseb on firstname.lastname@example.org