Riyadh pushes private schools to pay teachers their dues

October 8, 2012

Private schools in Saudi Arabia that fail to contribute their part of an agreement to pay local teachers at least 5,600 riyals (Dh5,475) will face punitive measures.

In a bid to promote the employment of Saudi men and women as teachers in private schools, Riyadh has introduced a scheme under which the Human Resources Development Fund, was set up in August 2000 to promote the training and employment of Saudis in the private sector, pays 50 per cent of their salaries. Schools were required to pay the other half and 600 riyals in monthly transportation allowances.

Schools however, resisted attempts to build a database of teachers eligible to benefit from the five-year plan.

According to local Arabic daily Al Eqtisadiya, The Fund received the data of only 10,000 of the 30,000 teachers in the private sector.

The education ministry remains adamant about employing Saudi nationals through the assist scheme and it is pushing for compliance by the schools.

Under the new bylaws being drafted by the ministry, schools must comply with the decision to provide Saudi teachers with a “positive environment” to carry out their mission, the daily said.

The ministry’s uncompromising move was prompted by a deepening row with private schools after teachers have complained that they have been denied the mandated salary.

Other teachers complained that they were not allowed to join their schools even though they signed contracts with them.

“I had a contract with a school in the Azizizya in the south of the capital Riyadh, but when I showed up on the first day, the principal told me that I had to look for another learning institution,” a teacher told the daily.

“He did not bother to explain the reasons for refusing him.”

A woman teacher said that she was asked by the principal to leave the school after she saw her using her mobile phone.

“I was on my way to class when I received a call. I took less than two minutes to answer, but the principal confiscated it from me and ordered me to enter the classroom,” the teacher said, quoted by the daily. “I complied and taught the lesson. When I went to see the principal, she started shouting and when I asked for my mobile, she told me to leave the school, so I went home.”

The next day, the principal of the school in the northern suburbs of Riyadh called her to tell her that she had to hand in her resignation.

“I did not even have a contract with the school after I was told that I would sign the agreement after the school re-opened. Obviously, the school management wanted me to resign so that it could use the resignation to show the competent authorities that it was serious about employing Saudi nationals, but they could not do it because there are serious issues with Saudi citizens,” she said.

According to another teacher, a school not keen on recruiting Saudis resorted to forcing Saudi teachers to show up on Thursday although it was a day off for students.




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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