KUWAIT: First-grade elementary public school students began their academic year on Sunday, with police deployed all across Kuwait to ensure smooth flow of traffic. The schools welcomed the students in a festive atmosphere to help them overcome any fears or inhibitions. All other students of public and private Arabic schools head back to school on Monday. Meanwhile, students of the law college at Kuwait University are planning to stage a protest against a ban on mixed classes, as university officials said the measure has not disrupted a smooth start of the scholastic year.
Several students from the college said the urgent and late decision to impose segregated classes has disrupted registration of subjects and some said they could lose a year as a result. The decision was issued last Wednesday, just three days before the start of studies on Sunday. Students still plan to stage a sit-in against the decision. But acting director of Kuwait University Fayez Al-Dhafiri said more than 95 percent of students have successfully registered their subjects for the new academic year.
He added more than 2,770 new seats have been added to the College of Law, allowing students to register easily. The Kuwait University Teachers Association criticized the university administration over the ban and called on MPs and others to stop political interference in Kuwait University. The Islamist Students Coalition Group, which has been leading the university union for more than 40 years, surprisingly criticized the decision, describing it as “ill advised” and called for delaying it until next year.
As part of his recent inspection visits aimed at monitoring the education sector and ensuring a successful start to the new academic year, Education Minister Dr Adel Al-Mane conducted tours of several schools to assess the progress on the first day of classes for first-grade students for the 2024/2023 academic year. Mane extended his congratulations to parents, students, and all members of the ministry of education on the commencement of the new school year. He stressed the significance of this year being a success and a productive one, underscoring the importance of nurturing students’ talents and abilities, supporting gifted and high-achieving students, promoting innovation and encouraging participation in creative and educational activities.
Mane emphasized that educational development begins within the educational field, requiring collaboration from all elements of the educational process. He reaffirmed his commitment to continue his inspection visits to address any issues and needs in the educational process and to ensure the provision of all necessary resources and solutions to enhance performance. The ministry of education is welcoming 423,251 students at the start of the new academic year, distributed across various educational stages.
This includes 41,763 in kindergarten, 159,895 in primary school, 129,751 in intermediate school, and 91,842 in secondary school, spread across approximately 875 schools in various educational regions. Col Nawaf Al-Hayan, director of the traffic awareness department at the Traffic Department, urged drivers to refrain from stopping on roads and blocking traffic in the event of minor accidents. Speaking on the first day of school for first-grade students, he stressed the importance of promptly heading to the nearest police station to allow traffic patrols to handle any serious accidents that may occur.
Hayan explained that the traffic plan involved deploying 500 security and traffic patrols, along with 300 new motorcycles to assist in managing traffic congestion in specific areas. He noted that the first day of school did not witness significant traffic congestion, thanks to the rapid response of traffic patrols to monitored locations. He called on parents to cooperate with security personnel and monitor their children’s arrivals and departures from school to ensure the success of the traffic plan and a safe school year.
Interior Ministry Undersecretary Maj Gen Anwar Al-Barjes, along with senior security officials, inspected the new motorcycles that were put into service on Sunday. These motorcycles are expected to facilitate traffic management, particularly in areas that are challenging to access with regular patrols and in locations with heavy traffic, especially near schools and vital sites. Despite the smooth main roads leading to Sabah Al-Salem University City (Kuwait University), entering the university campus during the early hours of the school day was challenging due to the convergence of new students, faculty members and administrative staff at the same time, causing traffic congestion within the campus.
Despite Kuwait University’s extensive preparations to accommodate over 43,000 students, along with faculty members and administrative staff, the issue of intersection planning within the university campus posed a significant obstacle to smooth traffic flow. The timings of intersections and traffic lights were not coordinated according to traffic flow in all directions, resulting in congestion and traffic disruptions within the campus.
Regarding parking, students utilized remote parking lots and waited for internal buses to reach their respective colleges. Additionally, there was a lack of a dedicated security and safety department within the university to regulate traffic and prevent traffic violations that impeded traffic flow. Furthermore, there was a deficiency in traffic awareness among students within the campus.