With the video, Dr. Walid Al-Rifai for Al-Anbaa specialties

The interview was conducted by: Alaa Khalifa

The cultural advisor and head of the cultural office at the Kuwaiti embassy in Australia, dr. Walid Hashim Al-Rifai, revealed that the office supervises more than 1,200 male and female students, whether students on scholarships from the Ministry of Higher Education or from other students. scholarship agencies, or students in Australian universities at their own expense. And dr. In an exclusive interview with Al-Anbaa, Al-Rifai spoke about the services the office provides to Kuwaiti students, and the role of the office in helping students throughout their academic journey. He also referred to the main subjects recently offered to students, especially after the emergence of the need for new specializations after the end of the pandemic. corona”. Dr Al-Refai praised Australian universities and their education system and emphasized that Australian graduate students are desirable in the labor market because of their ability, skill and educational achievement. He also spoke about the cooperation agreements the office recently signed with a number of prestigious Australian universities and other matters discussed during our meeting with Dr. Al-Rifai, Here are the details:

First, we want to give us an overview of the cultural office in Australia and the number of students it supervises, either on scholarship or study at own expense?

* The Kuwaiti Cultural Office in Australia oversees various countries, especially Australia, New Zealand and East Asian countries including Korea, Malaysia, Japan, China and Hong Kong. The number of Kuwaiti students studying in Australia is 500 students studying within the scholarship plan of the Ministry of Higher Education and 100 students studying at their own expense. In New Zealand there are 120 students studying in various specializations in auxiliary medicine and dentistry, and in East Asian countries, we have 350 students who study at their own expense and who are on scholarships from the Ministry of Higher Education and various scholarship agencies, so the office supervises about 1,200 students.

Services and awareness

We would like to highlight the most important services provided by the office to Kuwaiti students?

* The Culture Office utilizes all abilities to serve the scholarship student, from his arrival at the headquarters of the scholarships in all countries under the supervision of the Culture Office. He also informs him about the universities and their classification, and helps the student in university admission and obtaining health insurance. The Cultural Office also focuses on the student at the mission headquarters, whether he is on scholarship from a government or private agency, or a student studying at his own expense.

What are the most prominent new majors introduced to students recently?

* The specializations offered in accordance with the needs of the labor market by delegations of the Ministry of Higher Education, including cyber security, cyber security engineering and various engineering specializations, in addition to medical specialties and auxiliary medicine, including physiotherapy, speech disorders, oral and dental health, and nutritional sciences.

Have new specializations emerged in the last two years, especially after the Corona pandemic?

* Yes, including occupational therapy and a master’s degree in optometry, in addition to speech science, medical radiology, dental radiology and medical sciences, as well as an emergency medicine specialist, cyber and electronic security, and digital media.

If we talk about the scholarship plan of the Ministry of Higher Education, what are the most desirable and undesirable majors for students?

* Medical specialties (human medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, podiatry) and allied medicine (physiotherapy, pharmacy) are in high demand, and engineering and technology majors are of interest to scholarship students, especially renewable energy engineering, electrical engineering, and computer systems engineering .In addition to other specializations such as business administration, international trade, interior design, management, accounting and cyber security, a decrease in the demand for nursing in general has been observed.

Leading universities

Which leading universities can we benefit from their experiences in terms of scientific disciplines and education system?

* All Australian universities are distinguished at international level and are accredited by the National Bureau of Academic Accreditation and Education Quality Assurance, led by the Go8 Group, which is a group of 8 large and leading universities in Australia, known for the quality of the educational level and its advanced research facilities The Nobel Prize belongs to those eight universities, confirming the distinction of this group of universities, and those international universities produce the most productive research output in all of Australia.

Through your experience in dealing with universities, what are the most important criteria for academic distinction?

* There are important criteria, among which are the quality of education and the educational environment that the university offers to its students and the ratio of students to faculty members, the progress of the university in the scientific research sector and the availability of strong links. between universities with other international universities on the one hand and with the labor market on the other, as well as the services and facilities that The university provides to its students and the high international classification in the global ranking of well-known universities, which improves international competition in higher education and the creation of attractive and multicultural educational environments and trends. Australian laws also promote quality education and protection for international students. One of the best features is that the Australian government is committed to protecting Australia as a source of quality education and training in all university disciplines, offering the most stringent protection in the world for international students through the program (Educational Services for Overseas Students) , which enables educational institutions accepting international students to obtain important rights and legislation to protect their international students.

Induction week

What are the most prominent academic obstacles that scholarship students face, especially newcomers in the first academic year?

* The obstacles are not significant due to the presence of the preparatory stage and the diploma, which is considered the first year of the university level. The diploma year is characterized by smaller classes, and therefore there is greater attention and care for students, which better prepares them for the education system in Australia. And his rights and duties and all the student services that the university provides to its students in terms of academic and social assistance, therefore we emphasize the importance of students attending the introductory week at the university.

What about the problems faced by Kuwaiti students studying in Australia and the role of the office in solving them?

* New students face some obstacles at the beginning of the scholarship, but the Culture Office offers all kinds of support to students and helps them to facilitate their tasks during the scholarship period and overcome all obstacles they encounter during the study period , whether they are educational or living obstacles. We are always keen in the Culture Office to provide students with the relevant regulations and laws. Whether it is in the university or the country, the headquarters of the mission.

cooperation agreements

Are there cooperation agreements with universities, and what are the most prominent provisions of those agreements?

* The Kuwaiti Cultural Office in Australia has signed several agreements with many universities, and in Australia there is the Go8 Group of Eight, which are the best 8 universities in terms of global rankings. And the levels of Kuwaiti students, knowing that the level of educational achievement for Kuwaiti students is exceptional, high and a reason for pride.

Recently, the Culture Office has signed several agreements with prestigious universities regarding the allocation of seats for Kuwaiti students in human medicine seats, which are often limited in all universities of the world, and therefore the acquisition of human medicine seats allocated to Kuwaiti students is, a great achievement, and we had 23 medicine seats in 3 universities. Currently, the number has increased to 28, and we have another agreement to study dentistry, dental assistant and dental technology.

Do you have any data related to the employment of scholarship graduates in the Kuwait labor market?

* Sure, there is a large percentage of graduate students who contact the Culture Office to get certificates to apply for the oil sector in Kuwait, and a not small percentage of those who completed their first university degree in Australian universities apply to the Culture Office with their desire to complete a master’s degree in Australia, reflecting the unique educational experience that Australian universities offer their students.

The Culture Office is the only official body authorized by the Ministry of Higher Education to follow up on students’ conditions

Dr. Walid Al-Rifai stressed that all Kuwaiti students studying in Australia and the countries under the supervision of the office must have permanent and official communication with the cultural office and stay away from other fake commercial offices, stressing that the cultural office is the official authority which is authorized. by the Ministry of Higher Education to follow up the conditions of students and it is most careful to assist them and provide them with useful advice and guidance in everything related to their studies and their presence in the countries in which the office supervises Kuwaiti students studying there.

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