In September 2023 Kuwait’s newest public university, Abdullah Al Salem University (AASU), received its first batch of 605 new students for the 2023/24 academic year. Viewed by the government as a reflection of its efforts to become a strategic partner in the higher education sector, AASU and other public education initiatives are working to ensure that Kuwaiti citizens are prepared for the labour market.

Billed as a fourth-generation university, AASU was founded by Emiri decree in 2019 and offers academic programmes with an emphasis on scientific research, as well as digitalisation and artificial intelligence, particularly in relation to modern medicine and renewable energy. It has three colleges – computer systems, engineering and energy, and management and entrepreneurship – and provides students the option to choose from 10 different majors. Academic programmes at AASU are intended to be dynamic and flexible in order to align with the evolving needs of the labour market and create opportunities for entrepreneurial endeavours.

Future-Ready Workforce

AASU was developed in alignment with New Kuwait 2035, the country’s national vision for economic diversification. The founding administrative board of the university has studied the domestic labour market and the needs of academic sectors across the country in order to ensure that students are well-equipped to contribute to local economic development.

As a public institution, AASU represents the government’s efforts to develop a diversified economy capable of adapting to the rapid scientific and technological advancements occurring globally. This is evident in the advanced facilities at AASU. Nine research centres for various subjects – including cybersecurity, digital transformation, artificial intelligence research and entrepreneurship – have been formed in order to support the development of a diversified and modern knowledge-based economy.

University City

Another key educational infrastructure project that aligns with the goals of New Kuwait 2035 is Kuwait University’s Sabah Al Salem University City. The project spans an area of 6m sq metres and has an expected capacity of 40,000 students. The University City provides the residents of Kuwait with advanced educational and research opportunities through the provision of high-tech teaching tools and research equipment.

Due to the scale of the project, it proved difficult to monitor and store the data obtained from the various contractors involved in the construction of facilities, including indoor, outdoor and underground spaces. In response, an enterprise geographic information system (GIS) was integrated in collaboration with international experts, allowing for efficient collection, storage and management of data. The enterprise GIS used 2D and 3D technology to visually map the colleges within the University City, and allowed for the collection of architectural data from the design and construction phases of the project, enabling seamless collaboration and data sharing.

The establishment of AASU and the Sabah Al Salem University City, combined with the efforts of private universities to diversify course offerings and provide innovative learning experiences, is helping Kuwait move closer to achieving the education-related goals of New Kuwait 2035. “Local educational institutions and stakeholders are increasingly exploring non-traditional education methods,” Jacqueline Shaw, founding CEO of American International University, told OBG. “They are actively integrating specialised training initiatives to meet the changing needs of public and private sectors.” By integrating innovative learning methodologies, advanced research facilities and entrepreneurial opportunities in the country’s higher education sector, citizens will be better equipped to meet the demands of the current and future labour market.