Saudi Arabia decides expat female teachers can stay in their jobs

Published:  14 Jun at 6 PM
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After several weeks of worry that expat women teachers sponsored by their husbands were about to lose their jobs by Saudi government decree, it was announced yesterday that the decision has been reversed.

The kingdom’s Interior and Labour ministries yesterday made an announcement allowing qualified and legal dependents of expatriates to continue working as English teachers in private and international schools. According to the Saudi press, the decision was taken to reduce the kingdom’s dependence on recruitment from outside its borders.

The sting in the tail is that such teachers will now need to pass an examination set by the Education Ministry. International and private schools had faced having to either employ Saudi nationals to teach English or even close down, and it was feared that the prohibition would impact on the recruitment of expats at the executive level who wished to bring their wives with them.

The vice-principal of one international school was the first to express her relief, saying that the benefit will be felt by thousands of expat students as well as the teachers themselves. Had the clampdown gone ahead, she added, her school would have lost almost all its native English-speaking teachers.

Sabita Rahim from King Abdulaziz University agreed that both students and teachers will benefit and expat families will be encouraged to stay. Saudi businesses, she added, will also benefit, especially those in the real estate sector.

Rahim added that the kingdom has thousands of experienced, qualified able to give of their expertise to students. These women, she said, should not be classed as illegals, as they are the legal spouses of expat workers and do their jobs perfectly.
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