By B Izzak

KUWAIT: National Assembly Speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun on Sunday sent out invitations to lawmakers to attend a special session on Thursday to debate cheating in school exams, after authorities busted a network that leaked higher secondary questions, from which over 20,000 students benefited. The demand to hold the session was submitted by 10 MPs who want to inquire about the government's policy in curbing cheating at schools, asking the government to provide statistical details about cases of cheating caught by the ministry of education in the past five years.

The lawmakers also want to know the truth about claims that some private schools assisted their students in exams in a bid to boost passing rates and performance through cheating. The session is also expected to discuss a draft law calling to punish those who promote cheating at schools with up to seven years in jail. It was not immediately known if the government will attend the session. The presence of at least one minister is essential to convene the session.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly office relieved the National Assembly secretary general of his post and referred him to retirement. His assistant Khaled Busaleeb has been assigned to be acting secretary general until a permanent official is appointed.

Also, MP Hamad Al-Matar questioned why the cost of production of oil in the country has increased sharply, which was reflected in the draft budget, which projected a huge budget deficit of KD 6.8 billion. MP Adel Al-Damkhi meanwhile sent a series of questions to the acting defense minister about alleged irregularities in directly awarding a military contract regarding the construction of facilities for Caracal helicopters to the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The lawmaker claimed that a department of Kuwait's defense ministry awarded the contract directly to the US Army Corps of Engineers in violation of the rules of awarding military contracts. He asked why the defense ministry foreign procurement department surpassed the military installations engineering sector and awarded the contract directly to the US agency. He said the foreign procurement department has committed many violations in awarding the contract and asked about procedures that were taken by the ministry in this regard.