Cultural Shock: From Government School to College Life
Updated: Aug 18, 2020
“What a waste of 12 years!” That is what I said to myself after joining an American (private) university and after realizing how horrible the education system is in Kuwaiti government (public) schools. I am of course grateful to have received this gift of education, however out of pure patriotism, I must lay out the cons of this system to hopefully someday see some sort of reform in the following matters.
The “education” in government schools:
School was always boring! Every day was a trial of patience as all students sat in stationary classrooms with no permission to leave between the classes and had to endure the teachers who did not teach anything but made us memorize material that we instantly forgot after taking the exams. For example, in math classes, the teachers kept giving us equations to memorize without even teaching us what on earth they are used for. Music and art classes were neglected, as teachers wouldn’t teach at all but instead would stare at their phones or have conversations with students. English teachers always skipped the literature section and gave us the potential literature questions that are coming up on the test. Not only that but we were never tasked to write essays which might sound fun for students because it meant we didn’t have homework. In the long term however, it does not develop students’ writing skills. This affected me directly because I attended college to major in English Literature, after finding that this major suited me the most out of the available government scholarship subjects. It was a blind decision based on nothing but instinct and easy earned grades. Thus, the act of skipping literature and not writing essays led to my English 100 class to be a catastrophe! To cut to the chase I learned almost nothing from school!
Social life in private/government schools/universities:
In government schools there are boons and banes in comparison with private schools/universities. In my experience as a student who was in an all-boys government school for 12 years, the social life at school felt more traditional and native as the majority of students were mostly Kuwaiti and spoke Arabic. This juxtaposed with my university, where it is diverse and everyone speaks English even though the student population is dominantly Arab. School wasn’t bad, in fact the social life in school felt better in different ways, because it was easier (for me at least) to create brotherly-friendships because with the absence of girls, boys were not much concerned about being in a romantic relationship, therefore there was little to no “drama.” However I do not think it is right to separate the two genders because it may cause boys to be either awkward or predatory around girls in mixed gendered institutes; a result of deprived communication and interaction with opposite sex for 12 years. In college, it was much different because the environment was freer. I felt safer talking about political/religious matters whereas in school I was very cautious on who I would share my views with. I think the lack of diversity is what made school threatening because everyone seemed the same; brainwashed and passionless. This would lead you to feel like a black sheep if you act differently or express interest in something you like.
Whenever the topic of careers is brought up I always hear the phrase “My job is waiting for me.” followed with “My dad knows people there” which makes me wonder about the person’s hidden interests. Is that really what they want? I did not know what field I wanted to pursue until I used effective campus resources at my university that lured me to the field I found myself attracted to which is drama and arts however, considering that the government does not give scholarships for arts, I decided to continue with English Literature because it is closely related to drama and playwriting. Unfortunately there are no resources in government schools, no clubs, no activities, and closed libraries that are just there to serve as decoration, so naturally students won’t do anything in school but eat, chat, and circle in an endless routine until graduation. With that being said, government schools have succeeded in creating passionless students, succeeded in socially confusing them, and making them unprepared for their careers.