Location: Middle East
Population: 2, 183, 161
Ethnic Groups: Kuwaiti 45%, Other Arab 35%, South Asian 9%, Iranian 4%, Other 7%
Languages: Arabic (official) & English widely spoken
Economy: Kuwait is a small, rich country which houses 10% of the world's reserves of crude oil. Kuwait's dry, desert, climate limits the country's agricultural practice so the people depend almost wholly on food imports.
Industries: Petroleum, Petro Chemicals & De-salination
Britain oversaw foreign relations and defense for the ruling Kuwaiti AL-SABAH dynasty from 1899 until independence in 1961. A British-American firm controlled Kuwaiti oil production until 1974. After this Kuwait nationalized most of the oil operations. During the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, Kuwait took part in the Arab oil embargo against Israel. In 1990 Kuwait was invaded by Iraq; Iraqi forces withdrew from Kuwait as result of the Persian Gulf War.
Kuwait has a nominal constitutional monarchy, meaning that the monarchy is hereditary and the monarch appoints the two main leaders of the country: the prime minister and deputy prime minister.
There are three basic levels of education in Kuwait: Elementary, Intermediate, and Secondary. Preschool is available for 4-year to 6-year old children. Elementary school begins at age 6. Schooling is compulsory for children 6- years to 14-years-old. All stages of state education including higher education are free. Kuwaiti public schools are segregated by sex starting in the first grade. Class size in public schools is often very large (60 students).
Many Kuwaiti residents choose to send their children to privately owned schools that are often foreign-sponsored and co-ed. Private education is not free; it is subsidized. Students in all Kuwaiti schools begin to study English in second grade.