The report aims at comparing and contrasting the higher education system of United Kingdom (UK) and Kuwait. The expansion of higher education in UK took place around the 19th century with royal charters awards to some of the Universities and colleges. The later part of the century witnessed the foundation for the engineering and science colleges that later amalgamated with the redbrick universities of Bristol, Leeds, Birmingham, Liverpool, Sheffield and Manchester. On the other hand, the literacy rates at Kuwait stands at 94 percent and hence the country is striving hard in improving the quality of its education at all the levels. Kuwait has four higher education institutions supported by the state. Each passing year shows an increase in the number of enrolments for these institutions.
United Kingdom (UK) has developed a global importance for the excellence in its higher education thereby attracting students across the world that makes massive cultural and economic contribution towards the nation (Hazelkorn 2015). In terms of higher education UK offers its students world class research and teaching facilities. The colleges and universities of UK provide high end facilities in terms of science and computer laboratories, libraries, theatres and sports and music facilities. Most of the higher education courses are mostly taught by the universities but there are also certain arts institutions, colleges, business schools and agricultural institutes where it is taught. However, higher education in UK starts at the age of 18.Students attaining their International Baccalaureate, A-Levels or certain equivalent qualification have the eligibility of studying in the higher educational institutions of UK. There exist some excellent higher educational courses of UK that are honoured and acknowledged by the academics and employers worldwide. The Higher education qualifications of UK include (Stephenson and Yorke 2013):
Bachelor Degrees: This is a three year course offered by the institutions of UK
Diplomas: This is a two year diploma course offered by the higher education institutions of UK
Foundation Degrees: This is Year 0 program aimed at the students wanting to enter the specific subject areas of engineering and science but do not have the necessary qualifications.
Postgraduate Degrees: This is known as a Master’s degree and lasts from a period of one to four years.
Doctoral Degrees: This represents the highest qualification and takes around three to four years to finish.
According to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), there has been an increase of 4 percent applicants to the universities of UK. In the year, 2014, around there were around 580,000 applicants for pursuing higher education.
The higher education courses of UK have modular structure that implies that the students can opt for a personalized course by choosing units or modules from varied areas of the subject (Warwick 2014). There is also the option of choosing more than a single subject as a part of a particular course. However, the structure of the higher education system of UK is independent and autonomous and not run or owned by the government.
For higher education the institutions of UK offers both part time and full time courses. The full time courses ranges from one to four years while the part time courses will require a longer time to finish thereby allowing provision for work (Shah, Sid Nair and Bennett 2013).
The academic year in UK starts in the month of September or October and runs till June and July. Most often the universities follow a three term pattern beginning in September/October or January or May. However, most of the courses begin in the month of autumn in the universities of UK (Brown and Carasso 2013).
Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website provides the platform for application of students opting for full time higher education courses (Boliver 2013). However, for research and comparison between various universities as well as the courses one can go through Unistats website.
The Universities and Colleges of UK offer various popular higher education courses that include Management, Engineering, Finance and Accounting, Biotechnology, Medicine, Legal Studies, Applied Science and Hospitality and Communication and Media Studies. The higher education courses have shorter time span thereby saving time, tuition cost and the living expenses of students (De Vita and Case 2013). Higher education in UK has worldwide recognition that also gives a boost to the career of the students.
In contrast to UK, the higher education system of Kuwait gets regulated by Ministry of Higher Education (MHE). In Kuwait higher education refers to the university as well as the post secondary training and education (Stromquist and Monkman 2014). Unlike UK, in Kuwait technical training is provided at the technical and training institutes post secondary education under the supervision of the public authority for applied education and training (PAAET). The training centres of Kuwait have more vocational orientation and ensure providing a two year technician program for the students holding a secondary certificate. Kuwait University is one of the well known higher education institutions in Kuwait along with some fine art colleges. The higher educational qualifications of Kuwait are slightly different from that of UK. These include (Burney et al. 2013)
Bachelor’s Degree: This degree that has duration of 4 to 7 years based on the course chosen. There is a requirement of 120 semester credits for the completion of a 4 years bachelor degree.
Master’s Degree: To attain admission in a Master’s Degree in Kuwait, students must first attain a bachelor’s degree. This degree has duration of two years.
Doctoral Degree: This is a higher education degree offered by the Kuwait University and has duration of three years.
In comparison to the UK Higher Education Systems, Kuwait has four state sponsored institutions for the purpose of higher learning. Kuwait University is one of them set up in the year 1996. There is a wide range of courses offered by the University that includes business, education, engineering law, arts, science, and nursing and allied health. There are five campuses of the Kuwait University. Kuwait also has College of Basic Education under PAAET that primarily focus on two sectors, education and training (Almutairi 2014). There are four colleges and various training institutes under PAAET that includes College of Business Studies, College of Technological Studies, College of Health Sciences, College of Basic Education, Higher Institute of Telecom and Navigation, Industrial Training Institute, Higher Institute of Energy, Constructional Training Institute, Nursing Institute and Vocational Training Institute. The private institutions for higher education in Kuwait included Gulf American College, Box-Hill College for Girls, Maastricht School for MBA, Australian College of Kuwait and Arab Open University offering various courses.
In Kuwait, education beyond secondary school is a matter to boost off. Therefore, attaining a bachelor’s degree is also considered as higher education compared to the scenario persisting in UK (Alessa 2017). Hence applicants trying for a higher education must compulsorily hold a secondary school certificate. However, the tuition fees vary depending on the educational level and the program. However, it is necessary for the international students to apply for student visa for higher education in Kuwait.
The government of Kuwait has considered illiteracy as a serious concern and has therefore ensured establishments of schooling centres for the adults. There are also implementations of literacy classes for the women especially during the daytime.
The report ends by throwing a light on the comparative study of the higher education system of Kuwait and the higher education system of UK with individual focus on both. UK had always been an advanced nation in terms of higher education compared to Kuwait. With the passage of time, Kuwait is also focusing on higher education with statistics showing higher literacy rates.
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