Kuwait teachers plan petitions, rally to protest school hours extension

September 19, 2010
By

Moodhi Al Humood

Teachers opposed to a planned extension of school hours in Kuwait have been urged to sign petitions to be given to the education minister.

Abdul Rahman Al Jasser, the chairman of a committee within Kuwait Teachers’ Society (KTS), said that teachers and school administration staff should also take part in a protest planned for October 5 to express their opposition to the idea.

“Petitioners can sign the petition distributed by fax to local schools or by visiting or calling the KTS headquarters or its branches in Ahmadi or Jahra to obtain a copy of the petition,” Abdul Rahman said.

The petitions will be forwarded to education minister Moudhi Al Humoud as an indication of the widespread total rejection of any extension to school hours by both educators and the general public, he said, Kuwait Times reported on Sunday.

“The decision to extend school hours had been taken on a personal level and without any consultation with staff or any research into the matter,” he said. “Teachers’ opinions on the subject should have been taken into consideration.”

Abdul Rahman said the society’s decision to launch the petition had been unanimously approved by the KTS management board.

The board also approved a 25-minute protest on October 5 in front of the Ministry of Education offices, and all those who oppose the planned extension of school hours can attend to express their opposition, he said.

He attributed the choice of the date to the first day on which the extended school hours will take effect and to the World Teachers’ Day.

In March, Kuwaiti media reported that the education ministry conducted a pilot study to check the possibility of extending school hours.

However, the move was promptly rejected by the teachers’ society and in a strongly-worded statement issued in August, KTS said that “the minister is drawing the academic sector back to instability,” and that “the step adopted by the ministry indicates that the officials do not understand reality of the academic situation and its requirements.”

Last week, Kuwait media reported that the Civil Service Commission (CSC) was set to resume talks with the interior and education ministries on a project to extend working hours for employees in Kuwait’s public sector.

The talks, suspended for almost eight months, will focus on introducing a new schedule, in which civil servants’ working day would start at 8.00 am and finish at 3.00pm, Al Qabas daily reported.

The CSC is working with the interior ministry to ensure that the change will not cause major road congestion.

The education ministry has indicated that students and parents were likely to accept timing changes if they were gradually phased in.

The Kuwaiti government is reportedly keen to see civil servants’ working hours extended, especially that many other nations within the Gulf Cooperation Council have adopted a similar approach.

Ministers apparently see the successful introduction of longer working hours in the banking sector and in private sector firms as a promising indication of how such a system can be positively implemented, the paper said.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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