What is going on in public schools in Kuwait? Various reports, images and videos about verbal disputes between parents and teachers have appeared on social media, along with others warning the public about drugs in schools in the form of colored candy, and no one knows for sure if this is true or false.
I won’t take social media as the most reliable source for information, but things are really entering a new phase now with the issue of school guards. School guards are supposed to secure school facilities, but this is not possible for them because they have not been paid for months! They are human beings with families and kids who are waiting eagerly for the little money they get from abroad.
Minor cases start in school but end up in newspapers and sometimes in court. This week, a news channel published an interview with a school guard, who said few words, but they were painful and shameful. He said and I quote: “I have been ‘locked up’ in school for five months without salary.” This is not the first time these poor workers have faced such a problem, as in 2017, expatriate security guards complained of delayed salaries of more than three months, and spoke about wanting their wages in order to fulfill their needs and those of their families too.
The reasons for delays usually go back to routine paperwork of the contracting company and the ministry of education, with the long documentary cycle and approvals required by government regulators. I believe the ministry of education can intervene to stop the sufferings of these workers as a matter of urgency and oblige the company to pay their salaries.
First of all, as a citizen and journalist, I see this from a humanitarian perspective. It does not matter who is causing this delay, whether the company that brought these workers from their country without guarantees to receive their wages on time, or the ministry of education, which is supposed to have a decisive attitude towards these companies and not allow them to delay wages even for a month. Also, why not reveal the name of these companies and their owners, as this is not a problem of labor, but a problem of a country and schools that are supposed to have guards working actively and faithfully!
We often repeat that we are a state of law. So why are such companies allowed to manipulate people’s rights? The ministry of education should bear the responsibility of supervision and implementation. Some may see this issue of school guards as a minor one, but how would you feel if you didn’t get paid your salary for months?
By Muna Al-Fuzai