The ban on coeducation in Kuwait is still a controversial topic amongst young people in Kuwait. The most important question is why? To prevent sin, I guess. So, regardless of any other possible problems we face now with education in Kuwait, this law, in the minds of some, will make the future of education better and save the lives and future of young Kuwaiti students. Is it intended to make society virtuous? What about the mixing of genders in ministries, markets and parking lots? Honestly, I can’t believe how some people think here!
Just for the record, the scrapping of the coeducation ban will save the state nearly a billion dollars, which is the cost of new buildings needed to separate the students in Sabah Al-Salem University City. In addition, the segregation process will cost the state considerable material costs in terms of classrooms, laboratories, equipment and teachers, and will cause a delay in the graduation of some students. As for economic reasons, educating a student cost KD 2,500 dinars during the era of coeducation, but after the adoption of segregation, it costs around KD 7,000. These amounts can be used to build new buildings and the provision of services to students.
Throughout the years, Kuwait University has been suffering from administrative and academic problems. Will the problems increase or decrease with the complete separation of the sexes? I think the problem will get bigger. The imposition of such a law is alien to Kuwait and possibly was pushed by political Islamist and conservative groups. To prevent coeducation seems to me contrary to the Kuwaiti constitution, which rejects discrimination on grounds of sex. The Kuwaiti constitution gave the right to the individual to choose the kind of education he wants, and people are equal before the law. This is the real spirit of law and justice. This is a curious contradiction sought by hardliners here and we should not be dragged into it.
I am surprised at the endorsement by the Ministry of Education of the whole issue. Coeducation means that students meet in classrooms and public places at the university, and I do not see this as suspicious or worthy of the hype. Also, preventing the mixing of genders is useless, as the confluence of sexes is ubiquitous in any society.
One of the problems in Kuwait is that laws are proposed that affect the community, such as this one, only to satisfy some MPs or others, especially from conservative Islamist groups. It is really a pity. Does it make sense that Kuwait, which has large financial surpluses and many capabilities, has only one public university? Luckily, we now have a small number of private universities, which has brought about some change.
I would like to see education not getting involved with politics, with more discussion about the importance of the adoption of the public universities law, in addition to removing all obstacles to the establishment of new private universities. But I don’t think the debate on this issue will end anytime soon.
By Muna Al-Fuzai