By Faten Omar
KUWAIT: On Thursday Kuwait Times interviewed Sanad Al-Mutairi, Manager of Private Education Department within the Ministry of Education, to clarify some issues related to private schools. Kuwait Times has received many complaints regarding the school closures. One school principal threatened to cut the salaries of any teacher not in Kuwait during the period of the closures.
Other schools have been forcing teachers to meet and come to campus despite the closures. Another concern is that some schools may deduct from their teachers’ salaries due to the two weeks, which was a Cabinet decision to suspend schools for students and administrative bodies working in public and private schools and institutes, starting from March 1, until March 12, 2020.
Replaying to that, Mutairi said, “The decision is due to circumstances and a crisis in the country and based on the decision of the Council of Ministers, no school has the right to deduct the two-week suspension of schools from teachers’ salaries.” He advised any teacher that faces problems in this regard to file a complaint to the Private Education Department in order to do the necessary actions toward these schools.
Regarding E-learning that was implemented in some schools, he revealed that his department did not receive any official decision yet. “Although nothing is official, I believe that e-learning in schools will be activated through the so-called ‘educational television’ to make teachers interact with students, and until this moment we have not received any new instructions regarding that,” he said.
“The schools’ e-learning is optional to parents and students and there is no decision yet to obligate both sides. The e-learning now is an agreement with both sides,” he added. Mutairi added that the decision to extend the school suspension is up to the health ministry to make. “Till now the cases are stable in the country, and it is expected that students will back to schools on March 15. But if the situation worsens and the number of cases rises, it is possible to extend the suspension for the educational institutions,” he said.
Some school are considering canceling the spring break to catch up on what was missed. In this regard, Al-Mutairi told Kuwait Times that: “The school does not have the right to cancel the spring break without the approval of the Ministry of Education, An official circular must be issued to approve that decision, and nothing was released yet.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education announced on its official Instagram on Wednesday that teachers and students in Arabic schools (public and private) can use the “Siraj” application to keep on track if they choose to do so. This e-learning platform has not been mandated as a requirement.
The Ministry affirmed that the student and teacher can use the remote study through the educational channel “Siraj” that has been started broadcasting since 2013 where it includes approximately 700 records of reviews and previous exams for high school. Officials from the health and education ministries met to determine the latest preparations for the return to schools, in the context of precautionary measures to counter the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The gatherers agreed to start distributing thermometers to schools from Sunday with two for each school, besides providing nursing bodies for new schools and launching awareness campaigns for students, teachers, and administrative staff to prevent the virus from spreading.