An email to ISR from an Educator in Kuwait:
“It’s been a strange few months and the Coronavirus has certainly brought to the forefront the position to which International Educators are relegated in Kuwait’s International Schools. Some of us have lost our jobs, some have had our salaries cut, and some have had annual leaves magically shifted by a month. More recently, some staff at my school were told their future Contracts for the next academic year were ‘null and void.’
The Ministry of Education (MOE) have been quite clear about when and how government-run schools will operate in the face of the Coronavirus. By contrast, the procedures for those of us at private International Schools have been sabotaged by miscommunication followed by misinterpretation. From the very beginning, my school refused to follow MOE Covid-19 guidelines: “No! We are in the private sector! These regulations don’t apply to us!” Fortunately, the Minister appeared on TV to inform private institutions that they, too, are subject to MOE rules.
Kuwait is in Phase 3 of the lock-down. Salons and restaurants remain closed, yet private schools are considered ‘safe.’ Always ready to take advantage of a situation, my school has ordered teachers back on campus to commence online teaching! The logic defies all reason! We must E-teach from campus buildings, which under normal circumstances have some questionable hygiene practices, or ‘risk not being paid.’
Why on EARTH would administrators want teachers in school buildings in the middle of a full-blown pandemic to do EXACTLY what we can do from the safety of our homes and, in fact, have been doing for many months? Government teachers have been at home this whole time. They did no teaching at all and received pay. Something is not right with this picture.
What about teachers who are out of country? What about those who will return midway through the month and be required to remain in captivity … sorry, quarantine? It’s understood their ability to E-teach from home will not be hindered by their inability to cross the threshold of the hallowed school buildings. None of this make sense to me.
One colleague surmised that at a time when school owners may be considering trimming the fat, administrators might be feeling vulnerable and looking for ways to appear essential to the operation of their schools. It’s far easier to appear essential when buildings are full of teachers.
Whatever happens, in the short-term, teachers will remember who had their backs, who was honest, who was humble and who was understanding. And who was not! Thanks for your earlier newsletter Name Your School & Comment on their Response to Covid-19. A number of my colleagues, including myself, have named and shamed our school.
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