Kuwait teachers ignore calls to launch strikes

February 9, 2011

Kuwait teachers have ignored calls to launch a series of strikes in front of the education ministry to press for higher pays.

The calls by text messages, Blackberry broadcasts and tweets were made over the weekend to teachers and educators, urging them to join in demands to include them in the Kuwaiti public sector employees who will be given a pay raise.

“Our demands are not political, and we don’t represent any organization,” one message posted on various social networking websites said. “We will gather in front of the Ministry of Education building to demand a raise. We are not different from our fellow employees in other sectors; we too must be included in this increment decision,” the message said, Kuwait Times reported on Tuesday.

Messages were also directed to the country’s lawmakers and media figures, urging them to join in the protest.

Bader Ali, a senior teacher at a school in Qurain, attributed his refusal to join the protest to the current conditions.

“The political situation at the present time is very unstable. Posts in the cabinet are shifting, and demands like this are not going to help the situation,” he said. “To many people, the demands sound unjustified due to the high salaries Kuwaiti teachers receive. A newly graduated Kuwaiti teacher employed in the public sector receives KD 900 per month. Asking for more than that is greedy if you ask anyone, especially with endless complaints and criticism about the low quality of education and the limited performance of teachers in schools,” he said, quoted by the daily.

Money could be invested in reforming education and ensuring better qualifications, he said.

High school teacher Mona Al Matrouk believes that teachers must hold protests and demand changes, but does not believe that the income should be the top priority.

“Teachers are indeed under a lot of pressure and an immediate solution is needed, but this cannot be done by giving them more money. But generally, there needs to be a complete change in the way the education ministry operates,” she said.

The main obstacle to raising educational standards is the ministry’s massive internal bureaucracy, she said.

“This is the number one culprit in causing educational standards to fall in Kuwait,” she said.




About the author

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

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