Manama: A Kuwaiti lawmaker has called for replacing expatriate teachers with Kuwaiti nationals in a bid to reduce the number of foreigners in the northern Arabian Gulf state.
MP Osama Al Shaheen said there was an urgent need to address the demographic imbalance and suggested that removing foreign teachers would contribute to solutions.
“The number of foreigners, according to the figures released in April is 3,064,193, and they represent 69 per cent of the total population,” he said.
“The figures indicate that the country has 71,014 teachers, including 46,079 Kuwaiti nationals, which means that there are 24,935 Arab and foreign teachers. All this means that there 25,000 jobs for Kuwaiti men and women,” the lawmaker said at a press conference on Tuesday in Kuwait City.
Al Shaheen said large amounts of money could be saved by reducing the number of foreign students attending public schools.
“The average amount spent on a student in a government school annually is 4,973 Kuwaiti Dinars, and since there 51,378 foreign students, the government is spending 253,653,186 dinars on students who are not Kuwaiti nationals,” he said.
Foreign students cannot normally enrol in public schools unless they are one of the categories that have been given derogations by the state.
“The problem is that there are more than 16 derogations, and the number keeps increasing. We have for instance the students born to Kuwaiti and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) mothers and non-Kuwaiti fathers, the children of diplomats, of non-Kuwaiti prisoners of wars and martyrs, of parents coming from crisis countries, of university staff, and of imams and muezzins. We should keep only humanitarian cases and remove the others or at least impose fair education fees on them.”
Such solutions would help reduce expenditures on students and improve budgets for schools, he added.
“The demographic imbalance is a grave problem and we should all, including the government, work together to address it as the massive presence of foreigners has negative security, economic and social repercussions,” the lawmaker said.