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Youth: Torchbearers, rights-holders of New Kuwait plan
July 22, 2017, 2:34 pm

With over 70 percent of the 1.3 million Kuwaitis aged below the age of 35, Kuwait, like other countries in the region, has a large young population. Kuwait’s leadership is keen on prioritizing, encouraging and empowering this cohort of the population, as they are deemed the future of the country — shaping and driving its growth and development in the coming decades.

The government’s youth-focused approach derives its impetus from His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah's speech at the opening of parliamentary legislative session in February 2012, when he urged the legislative and executive to pay special attention to the care of youth, creating jobs for them and involving them in service of society.

In line with this Amiri directive, in January 2017, while launching the government’s New Kuwait 2035 Vision plan that aims to transform the country into a financial, commercial, cultural and institutional leader in the region, His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah stressed the importance of ensuring the participation of youth in implementing the vision of building "the modern state which we aspire."

Reiterating the government’s commitment to developing the capabilities of youth and encouraging their creativity and excellence, the prime minister pointed out that one of the seven pillars of the new vision plan was development of human capital. Other strategic pillars include: global position, infrastructure, public administration, healthcare, economy and living environment.

As part of developing its human capital, Kuwait has dedicated services to address the needs and rights of young people and to empower them as rights-holders, agents of change and torchbearers of New Kuwait, said the prime minister. Speaking at the New Kuwait launch event, the Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Dr. Mohammad Al-Fares, clarified that developing human capital involved six distinct programs:  education, labor market, disabled care, elderly care, social cohesion and empowering the youth.

“A critical element in developing human capital in Kuwait is to reform to the education system so as to enable it to better prepare youth to become competitive and productive members of the workforce,” said the minister. He said the government has earmarked nearly KD200 million for educational reforms with the aim of improving education so as to boost competitiveness; provide state-of-the-art educational facilities and amenities; and enhance school management to meet changing educational needs.

As part of these reforms, a teacher licensing process would be set up, said the minister, to maintain high-quality teaching professionals. The licensing would see 500 teachers being tested every year, with teaching licenses awarded only to those who pass these tests.

The education minister went on to say that the government will also be preparing national standards for education in order to achieve excellence in the education process, improve self-learning and e-learning. In addition, the reform process would see quality standards being applied in school administration of 200 government and 100 private schools, with regular assessment and measurement of education quality to ensure that they are in line with international standards.

The government also proposes to launch a campaign to encourage young Kuwaitis to join the private sector or to start their own businesses. In this regard, the government will set up centers to train national workforce in different sectors based on the demands of the labor market, said the minister.

The year 2017 is also important in promoting the government’s youth development plans, as Kuwait officially became the ‘Capital of Arab Youth 2017’, after Morocco, the previous holder, transferred the ensign to Kuwait’s representative on 8 May.

Reflecting the leadership’s continued keenness on youth care and development, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah patronized and attended the ceremony to mark Kuwait becoming the ‘Capital of Arab Youth 2017’, which was  held at the Bayan Palace on 15 May.

Director-General of Kuwait’s Public Authority for Youth (PAY) Abdul Rahman Al-Mutairi attended the handover ceremony of ‘Capital of Arab Youth’ in Rabat, Morocco, on behalf of the Minister of Commerce and Industry, and Acting Minister of Youth Affairs Khaled Al-Roudan. Speaking on the occasion, Al-Mutairi said that during its hosting of ‘Capital of Arab Youth’, Kuwait intends to hold several activities aimed at empowering Arab youth. The events spread over a period of one year will encourage Arab youth to invest their energies and to work and innovate for achieving further development of their respective countries.

The director-general added that the activities, contests, conferences and forums will be held in different domains, including in artistic, cultural, social and sports fields. The events will be held by PAY in cooperation with different ministries and the National Council for Culture Arts and Letters (NCCAL), and in association with private sector entities, said the director-general.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Ahmad Al-Hendawi highlighted the strategic partnership between the UN and Kuwait’s Ministry of State for Youth Affairs that allowed the country to encourage and promote youth empowerment in the country and the region. Kuwait, he said has become one of the leading countries in youth empowerment and in the providing a stimulating space for the growth and development of young people.

Al-Hendawi added that the Arab world currently looks to Kuwait as a beacon of investment and support to youth and that the country has the potential to be a youth leader at the regional and international level.

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