KuwaitOther News

New academic year begins without promos

By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: The new academic year for public schools in Kuwait kicked off last week without much fanfare – no traffic or busy streets and no back-to-school sales. “The reason is obvious – during the pandemic, students are not required to go to school physically as they are taught by teachers at home through online classes. So we haven’t displayed bags and notebooks visibly in our store. Students are not also required to wear their school uniforms,” said Hassan, an Egyptian manager of a popular budget store in Farwaniya.

“Normally at this time, the back-to-school section at our store is the busiest. We normally put new schoolbag collections and new notebooks on display in a prominent area of the store,” he said. “A few teachers visited our store to buy some stuff they needed, but the situation nowadays is completely different from previous years.” Teachers are conducting classes from classrooms or the comfort of their homes.

A store attendant at Khaldiya Co-op said that most of their stocks for the school reopening are kept at their storage facilities in Shuwaikh. “I don’t know what they are planning to do with the school supplies. I don’t think they will display them. There is no demand at all for anything connected to schools. We have some bags and school supplies here, but they are old stocks,” he said.

Conversely, sales of electronic devices are booming, as students and parents were told they could access online classes via laptops, smartphones or desktop computers. According to media reports, there have been shortages of laptops in various countries around the world, as learning went online.

Public schools and Arabic private schools in Kuwait reopened virtually October 4th, while foreign private schools reopened weeks ago. At public schools, classes for kindergarten students are held from 8 am to 9:30 am, with four classes daily of 15 minutes each. Elementary students have four 30-minute classes for each subject from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm. Intermediate students have four 30-minute classes daily from 8 am to 10:30 am, while secondary students have four classes daily from 10:40 am to 1:30 pm.

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