By Mervat Abduldayem
KUWAIT, Feb 14 (KUNA) -- Al-Qibliyah School for Girls stands as a reminder of the first stages of girls' education in Kuwait, which began over 76 years ago.
Though it was not the first girls' school, it was the first to adopt modern education approaches and curricula.
The school is named after Al-Qibla district where it was located, Head of the Historical Buildings Restoration and Preservation Department at the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL) Eng. Waleed Al-Humaidi told KUNA.
He pointed out that the two-storey building, which was a house belongs to Khalaf Al-Naqeeb, was built of mud bricks and wood and had three gates and two yards.
In 1945, the house was demolished by heavy rains and a new more sophisticated school replaced it and was officially named Al-Qibliyah School for Girls Education, Al-Humaidi said.
In the academic year 1954-55, the school started teaching English as a second language, Al-Humaidi stated, adding that the then department of education was providing students with their needs, like stationaries and clothes.
Among the first Kuwaiti teachers at the school were Su'ad Al-Refaee, Muneera Al-Sabah, Ghanima Al-Gharabally, Amal Jaafar, Lulwa Al-Sager and Hayat Al-Naqeeb.
The NCCAL has named Al-Qibliyah School for Girls as one of Kuwait's historic buildings and renovated it, and re-inaugurated it in 2001.
On the history of girls' education in Kuwait, Al-Humaidi explained that the first informal girls school was Aisha Al-Azmiri school what was inaugurated in 1926.
Meanwhile, the first formal government-built girls school was Al-Wusta (or middle in English) school that began teaching in 1937, he said. The school was named Al-Wusta because of its location being in the middle of then Kuwait.
In the same year of Al-Wusta inauguration, the number of enrolled girl students increased from 100 to 140, making up 18 percent of the total number students at that time, he said.
He added that the growing demand had pushed the education department to open three new schools in the three consecutive years.
In 1942-43, the department merged all girls schools into three: Al-Wusta, Al-Qibliyah and Al-Sharqiyah, and in 1945-56 a fourth one, Al-Zahra School, was inaugurated with Maryam Al-Saleh as its principal. (end)