By Faten Omar
KUWAIT: The hashtag “Education_Ministry”, trended on Twitter this weekend, with thousands of citizens and residents commenting on the recent teacher layoffs announced by the government. The ministry of education had issued a notice Wednesday that it’s ending the services of around 1,900 non-Kuwaiti teachers at the end of the current academic year, as part of its efforts in implementing the Kuwaitization policy.
The concerned sectors have given termination letters to those in charge of the matter at the country’s various educational districts, who will then give them to the laid-off teachers, informing them that their employment will be terminated as of June. Kuwaiti Progressive Movement said in a tweet that terminating 1,900 teachers, including experienced teachers with Kuwaiti mothers and bedoons, was a rash decision by the ministry of education and the Civil Service Bureau.
The movement said it was not against Kuwaitization, but was not pleased with how the ministry’s abrupt action didn’t give the teachers enough time to sort out their situation. The decision could also lead to a staff shortage, the movement said, putting pressure on working teachers who will have to take on extra teaching hours. The movement called on the government to reverse its decision.
Um Yousef said schools are already suffering from a shortage of staff. “Who makes these hasty decisions disrupting people’s livelihoods? This is not appropriate for someone who has spent their life in this country. Dismissal of teachers, who are children of Kuwaiti women, is shocking and inhumane,” she said. Ghanim Al-Taher said: “This decision upset us as Kuwaiti teachers, especially since most of those who were dismissed are educated and skilled in science subjects.”
Adeal Al-Abdullah supported the decision, saying: “We hope the decision will be implemented in other sectors in the country. Kuwaitis should be given priority when hiring for all jobs. Is it reasonable to hire residents before Kuwaitis who graduated from well-known universities and leave them unemployed for more than two years?”
Hamed tweeted that many educational experts said Kuwaitization requires addressing the reluctance of Kuwaitis in joining the teaching profession. “We demand a plan to develop education in Kuwait. About KD 13.6 billion is spent and the return is poor. Also, the quality of education in Kuwait is low in the Gulf and globally, despite the increased spending,” he explained.
Despite developments in Kuwait, there are still some challenges facing the education system. One of the main challenges is the lack of resources and funding, which has led to overcrowding in schools and a shortage of qualified teachers. There is also a need to modernize the curriculum and teaching methods to better prepare students for the modern world.