File picture of worshippers wearing protective masks perform prayer at a mosque in Kuwait City on February 28, 2020. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: The Kuwaiti Cabinet has extended the suspension of all public and private schools as well as higher education institutions until August 4, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The schools, universities, colleges and Islamic Awqaf centres will reopen for five to six weeks to make up for the remaining period of the second semester. The new school year will begin on December 1, 2020.

The decision was approved on Thursday by the Kuwaiti government following a meeting held to discuss the latest developments on the coronavirus outbreak. Saud Al Harbi, Kuwait’s Minister of Education, said the postponement of the second semester until August 4 has logical justifications imposed by the developments.

During a press conference on Thursday evening, Tariq Al Mazram, spokesperson of the Kuwaiti government, said the decision was taken as part of the continuous follow up on the coronavirus developments. Earlier in the month, Kuwait announced the suspension of schools and universities until March 25.

A few days ago, private school operators asked the ministry to conclude the current school year as soon as possible, as they expressed apprehensions parents would be reluctant to allow their children to return, should classes be resumed amid the coronavirus scare.

In a letter sent to the Kuwait Cabinet through the education minister, Omar Al Ghurair, chairman of the Kuwait Union of Private Schools, also called for compensation for the owners of private schools for any financial loss if parents did not pay the remaining fees.

The private school operators also urged the Kuwaiti government to accredit first semester results as the final results for the 2019-2020 academic year, and ease the pressure on keeping the safety of teaching and administrative staff who still had to report for work.

According to a survey conducted by the union, a majority of parents were in favour of concluding the school year and considering the first semester results as final results, the union explained.

Earlier in the day, Kuwait’s Health Ministry announced six new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number to 148 cases.