Gulf states have relied on expat workers, whether Arab, Asian or others, for a long time. We in Kuwait are no exception. Expatriates make up the majority of the population in Kuwait, as citizens do not exceed 30 percent of the population and the percentage of citizens in the labor market does not exceed 15 percent of the total workforce.
Expats came to Kuwait for work, but for different reasons, terms and durations. Some want to save some money for themselves and their families, then leave for good. Some have fled war and civil conflicts, so they cannot return to their homelands. In some cases, there are expats who have been living in Kuwait for the last 30 years and more, so Kuwait is their home because they have been living here for so long. Many expats married here, had children here and even became grandparents.
But have we benefited from the expat kids who were born and raised in Kuwait? I don’t think so. We did not make practical and strategic use of the minds of skilled expatriate children who were born and studied here for 12 years until they left for college, whether Arabs, Asians or Westerners. There is a common code that expat kids usually leave Kuwait after high school, except a few who go to local universities here. After they leave, only a few come back. We are only like a breeding plant. This is wrong and also not fair to those expats who have been in Kuwait for more than 30 years.
Expats are equal in rights, and nations of the world seek good education, prosperity, safety and security of citizens and foreign residents in their countries, including refugees, in order to encourage them to integrate with the local community. These are basic human rights in any society.
Why aren’t intelligent expat students who finish high school with high grades not entitled to overseas scholarships at the expense of Kuwait, in exchange to work here after graduation for the money that was spent on their education? This is a better investment for these kids who were born in Kuwait and educated here for 12 years.
I believe expat children are an important segment that needs attention, especially the ones who are very smart. Why not take advantage of them? Education is the best investment, and by helping them gain a better education, we will become confident that they won’t leave and impart their knowledge to others.
I also think smart expat children must be rewarded to be given the chance to study in government schools to reduce the burden of high fees on their parents. They would appreciate this and become role models for Kuwaiti students. I know some expats can send their kids to government schools, like teachers and doctors, but this is not allowed for everyone. Smart expat children are a treasure and we should not be lax in taking care of this wealth.