Monday, August 30, 2010
SOMETHING NEW UNDER THE SUN IN RIYADH TAKE TWO
Here is something you don't see every day - a public protest in Riyadh. Teachers staged a sit in at the Ministry of Education on Saturday to protest a lack of jobs.
By the way for years now Saudi Arabian female teachers have demanded the same pay and status as their male counterparts. It is to be noted that male teachers have not supported these demands.
Mona Abdul Aziz, spokeswoman for the campaign, said that while many were starting to support the campaign, there were many still hesitant to act.
“Many are reluctant to file a case against the Ministry of Education and the reason is always a woman’s husband, father or guardian who refuses to allow her to participate, saying she should be thankful she is getting paid,” Aziz said.
The following is from Arab News.
Jobless Arabic language teachers stage protest
By WALAA HAWARI | ARAB NEWS
RIYADH: Hundreds of Arabic language teachers gathered Saturday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. in front of the Ministry of Education here demanding jobs. Some of the teachers have been without work for seven years.
Over 12,000 graduates from different universities of the Kingdom share the same distress. The ministry did not respond to the teachers' demands, which according to Tariq, a 2006 graduate, are simple: "We just want a job, a decent life, a life!"
Tariq and his colleagues, some of whom were taken to hospital due to heat exhaustion, claim they took this step after many previous efforts went in vain.
"We resorted to this method only after we had sent many messages, held meetings and visited officials in the ministry, but failed to get a response," said Tariq, adding that they even tried to get in touch with the minister but were told he is in Jeddah and his deputy is in charge.
"Even the deputy minister refused to meet with us or hear us claiming that he is busy and the ministry has schedules," said Tariq. "The only attention we receive is from the security guard at the ministry," he said.
Last month the Ministry of Civil Services said the slow process of appointing teachers was responsible for limited availability of jobs in this specialty.
"Eight years ago the minister of education announced largely in the media that Arabic teaching is a specialty that would be needed for the coming 10 years," said Tariq, stressing that despite this announcement hiring of teachers stopped completely.
Teachers took courses and acquired experiences through various temporary jobs to prepare themselves and be equipped for permanent ones.
“Further disappointment lay in store for us, as the Civil Services, three months ago, came up with a resolution saying that courses canceled out experience," said Tariq, explaining that if teachers took courses while they were in temporary jobs, the courses they took would not be considered. That meant that the applicant had to choose between a course or a temporary position.
"They wanted us to be unoccupied during the course, and vice versa, an unjustifiable hindrance in my opinion, as many take up these jobs to support themselves while waiting for the ministry's appointment," said Tariq.
"The shocking part is that of this year's 5,000 Arabic language graduates, 656 were appointed only, whereas 2,300 of Islamic Studies graduates found jobs," said Tariq, adding that both subjects have the same number of classes and hours.
Until a solution is found, Tariq and his colleagues will continue to petition the ministry. "If the ministry is not able to provide jobs for Arabic language teachers, why are the universities still accepting large numbers of applicants and where will they end up a few years from now?" asked Tariq.