Kuwaiti women wear protective masks at the Mubarakiya Market in Kuwait City Image Credit: AFP

Abu Dhabi: Of the 1.77 million expatriates, who work and live in Kuwait with valid residency visas, 51.5% are illiterate or have primary education certificates or below, according to official statistics.

The statistics obtained by Al Qabas newspaper shows that the number of illiterate foreign workers in the country is 50,000, and there are 795,000 who can barely “read and write”, meaning the minimum level of education and can be classified in our time as “illiterate.”

As for those who hold a primary certificate, they number 67,000, considering that the statistic does not include domestic workers.

Sources said low education may be one of the main reasons for the outbreak of the coronavirus among the poorest and marginal groups of expatriate workers, as their limited health culture does not help them sensing the severity of the pandemic, they do not have much direct contact with the external community, and their culture revolves in their own orbit.

Economic sources familiar with the issue of the composition of expatriates in the country asked, how can the country implement ambitious visions such as “New Kuwait 2035”, and turn into a regional financial and commercial hub in light of such disappointing figures?

The sources suggested that visas be stopped for workers who do not have certificates above the intermediate school stage for specific occupations, provided that the “high school” or its equivalent should be the lowest educational level for workers in Kuwait.

The number of masters’ degree holders is 4,900, while the number of PhD holders is 1,800, the lowest percentage of the components of the workforce in the government and private sector, and most of them work in the Ministry of Health, hospitals, and private clinics.