Opened in 2004, the Australian College of Kuwait (ACK)
is the country’s first vocational college that provides Kuwaiti students with an alternative to a traditional university education.
Students who do not leave secondary school with the GPA needed to enter university can attend ACK for a foundation year in which they work on improving their English, math and study skills, says Abdullah Al-Sharhan, ACK Chairman. Once they pass, they can go on to join a two-year diploma program and from there, they can continue their education to receive a Bachelor’s degree in the college’s own 2+2 program, unique in Kuwait.
“ACK was predicated on giving students a second chance, and to create a fresh opportunity for them. That was to be achieved by improving their learning skills and giving them a little bit of theory and a lot of practice,” says Mr. Al-Sharhan. “We open the door for academic progress to those who are capable and desire to continue.”
He adds that competency-based training provides students not only with skills and knowledge, but the right attitude as well. “We are also offering degree programs that build on the competency-based diploma courses. These degrees, although vocational in approach, develop critical thinking and problem solving capabilities in students using curriculum-based university courses.”
The college was established in conjunction with Australian universities – as Mr. Al-Sharhan considers the Australian vocational curriculum to be the best in the world – and holds active partnerships with the University of Tasmania, Tasmanian Polytechnic, and the Central Institute of Technology in Western Australia, among others.
“International cooperation has always been a basic ingredient of our operations,” explains the chairman.
ACK, which focuses on business and engineering, works closely with the private sector and industry so as to keep a finger on the pulse of current trends and needs.
“If you do not work together with industry, you won’t know what they want,” says Mr. Al-Sharhan. “I would like to see the college producing the human capital that the country needs, hence our collaboration with industry.”
Backing up this desire are the college’s purpose-built campus in West Mishref and its state-of-the-art facilities – including a ground-based Boeing 737-200 aircraft, aviation test benches, a 57-foot boat, and a state-of-the art marine simulator – which allow ACK to provide unique training opportunities in Kuwait.