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$5.8 billion into long term sustainable growth

Article - September 30, 2011
A fundamental pillar for the sustainable development of a nation is its human capital, and investing in the creation of a country’s young minds is a clear step towards building a brighter future where higher education takes center stage. Although Kuwait boasts several institutions of higher learning, Kuwait University (KU) is the only public university, and coincidently this year marks its 45th anniversary.
Through 14 colleges and wide range of programs in sciences and humanities at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels, KU has established a regional legacy of excellence in education.

“For over 40 years, KU has produced quite a number of outstanding graduates. Many of the leading people in the country and the Gulf come from KU. We also have many successful graduates all over the world,” boasts Abdullatif Al-Bader, newly appointed president of KU.

Given Al-Bader’s medical background (he twice served as KU’s dean of the College of Medicine) he places special attention on reaching global standards in these areas. “We’re looking into other areas of accreditation and certification. In many of the colleges—particularly, in the areas of science and medicine—we’re trying to adapt the External Examiner systems. We believe that it’s always good to have the assessment of an independent, third party with a bird’s eye view of things,” he explains.

If not exactly aiming to compete with foreign universities, KU is keen to learn from international institutions given the pivotal importance of the transfer of knowledge and technologies. To achieve this KU has established agreements with many of the most reputable centers of higher education in the U.S. and Canada. “I believe that we have to compete with ourselves, demonstrate excellence and establish a center of excellence. Of course, we cannot accomplish this in a cocoon. We have to venture out to see what others are doing. We have to send our students out into the larger world,” explains Al-Bader.

KU is also host to one of the KDP’s biggest projects: the new Sabah Al-Salem University City, with state-of-the-art buildings and facilities. With an allocated budget of $5.8 billion, this new project will house 11 colleges on the main campus, with an additional five colleges on the medical campus, and accommodate 40,000 students and 10,000 faculty members, explains Rana Al-Fares, director of the KU Construction Program. “The construction is a joint venture of local firms and international firms. Even the largest local contracting firm could not take this on single-handedly in terms of designs and construction,” she adds. 

The new University City “is a landmark for KU’s history and development,” says Professor Moudhi Al-Humoud, out-going Minister of Education. “The University City will stand to represent Kuwait University’s ongoing development and evolution.”