Several international schools in Saudi Arabia are in crisis after teachers recruited through non-official channels stay at home to avoid possible labour inspection visits.
Under the new labor laws that are now being strictly applied by the labor ministry, international schools cannot recruit teachers who are not under the school sponsorship. This puts an end to a widely used practice in Saudi Arabia.
Lady professional teachers who moved to the Kingdom with their spouses were earlier encouraged to work in private schools even though they had no labor contract and were legally not permitted to work.
Many international schools in Riyadh and Jeddah will face a real crisis with these new procedures as teachers opt to stay at home and avoid legal hassles , according to a report on Arabic daily Al Eqtisadiya.
Government sources, however, deny any inspection of schools by the labor team. 60 international schools in Jeddah are expected to be shut down if the new measures are applied.
“The best solution is for the interior and labour ministries to allow professionally competent teachers accompanying their spouses to teach in international schools,” Abdullah Al Dahlan, from the University of Business and Technology in Jeddah said in remarks published by Al Eqtisadiya on Monday.
“From an economic perspective, recruiting the teachers who are already in the country will be more beneficial for the ministry than to hire educators from abroad and pay for their expenses. Such a decision will also ensure the continuation of steady education in the international schools, especially that we are in the second half of the academic year. Applying the new measures now means that more than 40,000 students will be deprived of their education,” he said.
“There are not many Saudi teachers, men or women, who can teach in English despite efforts to train them. At least one year is needed to train some Saudi teachers. This is a serious issue that should not be overlooked. I am for offering Saudis employment opportunities ahead of others, but there must be Saudi professionals capable of taking up the jobs on offer,” Al Dahlan added.