According to Kuwait Transformed, in the early 20th century wealthy merchant families in Kuwait donated 77,500 rupees to establish the town’s first public school (prior to this children went to private neighborhood Qur’anic schools). The Al Khudhair family donated a house near the suq for the school, which was named the Mubarakiya School after the ruler at the time–Sheikh Mubarak Al Sabah. It opened in December of 1911. According to the work Mubarak al-Sabah, “amongst other things, pupils were taught grammar, dictation, composition and handwriting and were introduced to Arabic literature. In addition, mathematics and geography were taught, together with some basic ideas about engineering. In deference to tradition, the curriculum also featured religious sciences, which included the study of the Qur’an and its exegesis, Islamic jurisprudence and an introduction to Islamic doctrine.” According to Kuwait Modern Architecture, the current structure dates from the late 50s. The authors write that, “gradually the site acquired various uses after the school closed down, hosting the Central Library in 1979, the National Library between 1985 and 2011 and at present, the History of Education Museum.” In this article you can see some old photographs of the school. The black-and-white photograph comes from a 1952 National Geographic article about Kuwait.
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