Promoting integrity in general and Higher Education in Kuwait

At the invitation of Nazaha, the Kuwait Anti-Corruption Authority, IIEP participated in a capacity-building workshop entitled “Promoting integrity in the education sector”.

The workshop was jointly organized by Nazaha and the Ministry of Education, Kuwait, and took place on 21 and 22 October 2019 in Kuwait City. The first day was devoted to general education and the second day to higher education.

The main objectives of this workshop were to help participants:

  • map potential for corrupt practices in major domains of educational planning and management;
  • understand the use of various diagnostic tools to diagnose and assess such corrupt practices; and
  • formulate policies and strategies for improving transparency and accountability in selected domains.

Two different groups of people participated in this event: on the first day, about 50 people participated, including headteachers, teacher supervisors and teachers from pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools from all six governorates of Kuwait. During the second day, about 75 people attended – mostly administrative and academic staff from public and private Kuwaiti universities.

Muriel Poisson addressing participants at the NAZAHA workshop in Kuwait.

Muriel Poisson addressing participants at the NAZAHA workshop in Kuwait

The workshop agenda included a series of presentations, each followed by a working group session. Muriel Poisson, IIEP Programme specialist, and Jacques Hallak, International Consultant, facilitated the workshop and guided the participants in discussions around the various corruption risks affecting schools and universities in Kuwait. They then looked in more detail at documenting the issue of cheating during exams; analyzing cases of plagiarism; reflecting on the usefulness of the Code of Ethics of Kuwait University, and identifying mechanisms for ensuring better academic integrity.       

Each session concluded with an active discussion among those present, with participants suggesting some very detailed and practical ideas – among which:

For general education:

  • Ensure a more transparent deployment of teachers (in kindergartens especially);
  • Review the appraisal system for teachers;
  • Develop a survey questionnaire to document the issue of cheating;
  • Ensure that no electronic devices are being used during exams;
  • Check for fake credentials among teachers;
  • Promote student codes of conduct, from kindergartens to high schools;
  • Sanction/dismiss teachers showing low performance, or engaging in malpractice.

For higher education:

  • Ensure that the legislation related to integrity issues, (e.g. the Decree on conflict of interest) is duly enforced; adopt new regulations, particularly in the area of research;             
  • Make the Arabic version of the Code of Ethics of Kuwait University widely accessible, including through the University website;
  • Set up adequate mechanisms to enforce this Code of Ethics, especially a Committee of Ethics and Deontology, and ensure efficient complaint procedures;
  • Facilitate access to anti-plagiarism software, considered as “a must” to fight plagiarism; plan anti-plagiarism training for academic staff and students on this basis;
  • Improve the functioning of the “eco-system” or governance system of the higher education sector, considering the roles and functions of the Civil Service Commission, the Ministry of Education, the University Council and other relevant institutions.

The workshop was also an opportunity to pilot the Arabic version of the IIEP book Corrupt schools, corrupt universities: What can be done? With the support of Nazaha, it will be made available to other Arabic speaking countries shortly.

Click here to watch the interview conducted by the Kuwait TV 2 “Hala Kuwait” programme at the end of the workshop.