FYI / What's Going on in the Gulf?

Relief for Female Expat Teachers

The Interior and Labor Ministries have taken a joint decision allowing legal and qualified dependents of expatriates to work in the education sector. The decision has been widely welcomed by expat female teachers, school authorities and parents. They said it would help international schools operate without fear.

“Legal dependents of expatriate workers … will be able to take a number of education jobs if Saudis are unable to take them,” Al-Watan daily reported yesterday quoting a document issued by the two ministries. The paper said the move was taken to reduce the dependence on foreign recruitment. However, the decision insisted that such teachers should pass qualification tests set by the Education Ministry.

“This is very good news,” said Farhadunnisa, vice principal of the International Indian School, Jeddah.

“It will not only benefit female teachers but also thousands of expat students in the Kingdom and their families,” she told Arab News.

“We were worried that many of our female teachers will not be able to come back after summer vacation because of the ministry’s clampdown on housewives working as teachers,” she said. “Now all of them can go on vacation with peace of mind.”

There are more than 200,000 Indian students in the Kingdom. Any disruption of their education would force their parents to leave the Kingdom, she said.

Sabita Rahim of King Abdulaziz University said: “Both Saudis and expats will benefit from this move. It will encourage expat families to stay and this will certainly benefit various Saudi businesses including real estate owners,” she told Arab News. Rahim said there are thousands of highly qualified expat women with wide experience. “These teachers should not be called illegals. They are legal dependents of expats and do their job perfectly,” she added.

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