Kuwait offers its citizens free education, including free food, clothing, books, stationery, and transportation, from kindergarten through the fourth year of college. Most expatriates are not eligible for free education and must register their children at a private school. The Ministry of Education sets tuition levels for private schools. In 1998, 142,308 students were enrolled in 286 primary schools, with 10,798 teachers. Student-to-teacher ratio stood at 13 to 1. In the same year, secondary schools had 224,293 students and 21,187 teachers. The pupil-teacher ratio at the primary level was 14 to 1 in 1999. In the same year, 66% of primary-school-age children were enrolled in school, while an estimated 50% of those eligible attended secondary school. Schools below university level are segregated by sex.
Kuwait University was opened in 1966 with 866 students and in 1995 had a student enrollment of 12,712 and a graduating class of 1,880. Kuwaiti nationals composed 92% of the student body. Kuwaiti students who complete their secondary-school science courses in the upper 80% of their class and arts courses in the upper 70% are eligible to study abroad at government expense. Universities and equivalent institutions had a total of 29,509 students and 1,691 teachers in 1997. The government has adopted a program to wipe out illiteracy by opening adult education centers. For the year 2000, adult illiteracy rates were estimated at 17.7% (males, 15.7%; females, 15.7%). As of 1999, public expenditure on education was estimated at 6.5% of GDP.