Since 2004, the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET) has been working to redesign Kuwait’s vocational and technical education programs to better prepare Kuwaitis for entry into the country’s workforce.
Officials from Kuwait’s Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET) have been training faculty and staff in the design of performance-based courses and programs using the WIDS Model and Software. Through improved technical education program offerings, the PAAET hopes to replace the country’s large population of foreign workers with Kuwaiti natives, at a pace of 10 percent per year, according to Kahled Al-Duraie, assistant director of the PAAET’s Curriculum Development Center (CDC).
The initiative to use WIDS in Kuwait began in 2004 when 10 PAAET representatives were trained in Madison, Wisconsin, to use the WIDS process and software. They returned in 2007 for advanced training.
Kuwait’s education system includes five colleges and nine training centers, which serve 30,000 students and offer a total of 120 programs – six more than in 2004, according to Al-Duraie. By utilizing the WIDS design process and software, he believes Kuwait education will better target industry skills and needs, and therefore, better train learners.
PAAET uses DACUM (Developing A Curriculum) occupational analysis to build new courses and programs using WIDS. In doing so, they identify the skills, by occupation, required to perform a specific job. They then build their courses and programs around those skills, or “competencies.” Complete courses designed using WIDS include competencies with related performance standards and learning objectives, learning plans with learning activities, and performance assessments. Programs designed include program outcomes, external standards, lifelong learning skills, and general education components, all of which can be linked to courses. This ensures that students taking the same course or program – no matter who is teaching it or where it is offered – acquire the same skills. The WIDS design process and software provide a needed framework for organizing curriculum and ensuring no critical elements are left out.
The Kuwaiti educators plan to develop programs according to the needs of individual industries, including health care, petroleum and wireless communication. New programs, written in Arabic, will be implemented system-wide – offering consistency and quality, according to Dr. Sulaiman Al-Rabah.
“We hope all programs will be designed using WIDS,” he said. “Our ultimate goal is to be accredited in the United States and England.”
As such, WIDS Software will soon be installed on the PAAET’s server – allowing faculty to access curriculum files and share their work. Of the 700 faculty of PAET, 200 are already trained to develop curriculum using the WIDS Model and Software. Now, with six new WIDS trainers on hand at the CDC, the organization expects to help many more educators learn to use WIDS each year.
Through improved education and training, PAAET plans to develop nationally based manpower, which currently only accounts for 19.5 percent of Kuwait’s current work force. In doing so, PAAET will better meet Kuwait’s human resource needs – helping bolster the number of employable Kuwaitis.