On Nov. 30, 2015, 7:08 a.m. by Hussain Almohri
Is academia after all about giving concepts and theories discovered and researched over centuries to students? Yes, one role of an academic program is to provide the knowledge discovered over hundreds of years by researchers and scientists to students to broaden their understanding of their field, to familiarize them with scientific methods and discovery, and finally to give them a general and systematic culture within their fields of study.
Unfortunately, the education stops there in Kuwait. There is a severe misunderstanding about the role of academia in the country and what should and should not be taught and what is the level of training a student must receive in college. From the students' side, the only motivation to go to college is to gain a degree that enables them to apply for reputable and high income jobs, of course with little effort. So, what is really the role of a university professor or a technical course? What should we focus on? These are the sorts of questions that create the academic dilemma not just in Kuwait but also in other countries.
I won't address these questions in the level of details necessary to take actions since these are themselves questions that are open for further research in education. However, I'll point out a missing point in our system of education, especially in Kuwait University. This missing point is the significant gap between what a student learns for the sake of learning and what the student will practically need to succeed in his/her job and take steps to improve whatever he/she is working on for the better. The problem is our programs are not designed to solve our life problems. As scientists we're highly involved in and impressed by deep theoretical discoveries that make not much sense in today's fast moving life. Our economy in particular is in emergency need for talents that can solve realistic problems by gaining enough conceptual and experimental background in their four year college experience.
Here is my proposal: we will have to focus on giving as much experiments as possible to our students to enable their decision making and problem analysis skills in their work environments. We cannot afford wasting time and effort to only make our students capable of understanding the theories and concepts without linking their study material to today's emergency situations. If we take the bold decision to bridge the gap, the future generations will indeed be more interested to learn and will be more independent graduates. We will unveil entrepreneurial potentials of our students, which will form the future of our economy.