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Hike in allowances ‘eyed’ for students
March 3, 2014, 9:52 am

A reasonable hike is being proposed by the Ministry of Higher Education in allowances awarded to all students currently on scholarships abroad, and the charts and details are to be presented to the Finance Ministry very soon for approval, an official said here. The remark was that of Assistant Undersecretary for Legal Affairs at the Ministry Dr Meshal Mahdi Hayat, on sidelines of activities of the National Union of Kuwait Student (NUKS)-UK, held late on Saturday. He added he is optimistic the proposal would pass.

NUKS-UK had recently demanded students’ needs be addressed, particularly regarding insufficient allowances in the face of higher cost of living in the UK and Ireland, suggesting an increase of 35-45 percent. The union cited rising costs of transport, housing, and basic necessities. The official said the “thorough” study to be presented to the Finance Ministry addresses inflation and drop in purchase power in many countries, and was compiled with some input contributed by cultural offices and NUKS branches. The increase is proposed befitting the student’s host country, he added, and applies to those in European as well as those in Arab countries. There is also an item on increase of sums allotted for purchase of books and references and clothing in all countries.

Hayat noted scholarship student numbers went up from 450 a year to over 4, 000 a year at present, with annual increase still being recorded. “The aim is human development and investment”, he said, and “giving those who could not enroll at Kuwait University to get high education.” Hayat also pointed out the ministry is coordinating with cultural offices to re-evaluate some universities and institutions and their accreditation. This is to avoid, he explained, problems and negative experiences suffered by students in the past with the concerned universities.

“The re-assessment would cover the academic aspects, as well as other aspects such as actual market demand for the specializations offered.” On a general note, the official urged all students on scholarships abroad to know their rights and duties and to communicate with the ministry and stay updated on all scholarship regulations and advisories.

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