Can­di­date calls for more laws that ‘re­spect peo­ple’

Aseri fo­cuses on civil law, youth, women’s rights

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Nawara Fat­ta­hova

Dr Ghadeer Aseri is a can­di­date from the first con­stituency, run­ning in the elec­tions for the first time. So­cial pol­icy and ed­u­ca­tion re­form mo­ti­vated her to stand. “I thought that I could best im­prove our com­mu­nity from the par­lia­ment, which is the leg­isla­tive power, as the so­ci­ety can be changed by chang­ing the laws. We should have laws that re­spect peo­ple. I want to give more chances to vot­ers to have more op­tions to choose from,” Aseri told Kuwait Times.

Aseri has three ma­jor is­sues in her sight that she wants to work on if she en­ters par­lia­ment: Chang­ing the civil law, youth and women’s rights.

Ed­u­ca­tion

“I aim to re­solve the prob­lems of young peo­ple by im­prov­ing ed­u­ca­tion and chang­ing poli­cies. I can change the com­mu­nity through ed­u­ca­tion and also change the at­ti­tude of in­di­vid­u­als. I have longterm plans, as I don’t aim to ef­fect change in just the four years when I will be an MP, but to set a law to change the com­mu­nity over the next 20 or 30 years.

“This is re­lated to civil law. Some peo­ple think the cur­rent civil law is suit­able for the present time, but I think I can change the at­ti­tudes of gen­er­a­tions through ed­u­ca­tion. I aim to change the cur­ricu­lum, the sys­tem of ed­u­ca­tion and the qual­ity of teach­ers. Many Kuwaitis en­roll their chil­dren in pri­vate schools, as they be­lieve they should in­vest in their chil­dren. They re­al­ize how im­por­tant ed­u­ca­tion is for the fu­ture of their kids. To­day, chil­dren play with tablets and smart­phones, which are con­sid­ered as their toys. This is glob­al­iza­tion and we have to move with it, and I will fix some poli­cies to match this devel­op­ment.

“To­day they let the stu­dent study, sit for the exam and get full marks, which is the tra­di­tional sys­tem of rote learn­ing. We don’t have a cur­ricu­lum that makes the stu­dent ask ques­tions. We should have a cur­ricu­lum based on the phi­los­o­phy of ask­ing ‘why’. We should have a cur­ricu­lum of an in­ter­na­tional level. I no­ticed there is a prob­lem in our cur­ricu­lum. When our stu­dents - who are ex­cel­lent and achieved full marks - travel to study in the UK, for in­stance, they only man­age to at­tain a level of 80 per­cent in tests there. This means there is some­thing wrong in our cur­ricu­lum, and it needs to be de­vel­oped. We have to scale up by 130 or 150 per­cent to be on the same level of West­ern univer­si­ties.

“I also aim to estab­lish more pub­lic univer­si­ties in Kuwait. These should pro­vide pro­fes­sional diplo­mas, and peo­ple of any age should be al­lowed to study there. It would be great if there were ed­u­ca­tion loans too. I in­tend to set poli­cies that al­low cit­i­zens to con­tinue their stud­ies and sys­tem­at­i­cally learn, and not just ob­tain a de­gree. I want to add ethics to the cur­ricu­lum, so chil­dren will learn from an early age to avoid many bad be­hav­iors, such as ‘wasta’.

“I be­lieve that even if not all stu­dents in the class adopt what they are taught in school, the ma­jor­ity will do so. And they will bring about a rev­o­lu­tion in the fu­ture to fight the bad be­hav­iors that they learn in the home, school or work en­vi­ron­ments. Take my ex­am­ple - I don’t use wasta as I was taught at univer­si­ties in the UK and US that this is not eth­i­cal. “The qual­ity of teach­ers is one of the ba­sic pil­lars that needs to be changed. The gov­ern­ment em­ploys many teach­ers from abroad, but they are not of the sat­is­fac­tory qual­ity we need. Many of them speak with ac­cents that our kids can’t un­der­stand. Also, as they don’t have the best qual­i­fi­ca­tions, stu­dents have to take pri­vate tu­itions. If we in­vest a lit­tle more to bring in na­tive English teach­ers, for in­stance, they won’t have to pay for ex­tra tu­itions.”

Women’s rights

“The Kuwaiti woman is op­pressed and I aim to change this and let her get her rights to be equal with men. She should get the same fi­nan­cial rights in­clud­ing rent al­lowance, child al­lowance, equal salary, hous­ing loan and other rights. A woman is not al­lowed to is­sue of­fi­cial doc­u­ments for her chil­dren, and I want to cor­rect this.”

Ex­pats

“I am against any kind of dis­crim­i­na­tion. I lived in the UK and I got the same med­i­cal treat­ment as Bri­tish cit­i­zens, so I know that ex­pats here should re­ceive same the treat­ment, es­pe­cially in health­care and ed­u­ca­tion. The ex­is­tence of ex­pats here is not a prob­lem - we need them as we don’t have Kuwaitis to work in all fields. Maybe we need a mod­i­fi­ca­tion in their num­bers. “I guess that changes in ed­u­ca­tion will solve a great part of this prob­lem. Our prob­lem is in the sys­tem. In the past, some pro­fes­sions were not deemed ac­cept­able by Kuwaitis, such as makeup artists, de­sign­ers and oth­ers, while to­day many Kuwaitis run their own small busi­nesses and even serve cus­tomers.”

Con­clu­sion

“Cit­i­zens should vote to avoid let­ting the wrong can­di­dates reach the par­lia­ment. The same thing hap­pened in the past when many peo­ple re­frained from vot­ing, and the MPs who won ap­proved bad laws such as gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion in ed­u­ca­tion. I’m even wor­ried that they may de­mand shut­ting down the newly-opened opera house, claim­ing it is haram. Peo­ple will then ques­tion them, but this was the re­sult of not vot­ing and al­low­ing Is­lamists to reach the par­lia­ment. They may also en­force the wear­ing of the hi­jab for fe­male stu­dents, as they have now ap­proved it for in­ter­me­di­ate schools,” Aseri warned.

— Pho­tos by Joseph Sha­gra

KUWAIT: First con­stituency can­di­date Dr Ghadeer Aseri speaks to Kuwait Times.

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