Expat students leaving Saudi international schools in droves

Published:  24 Apr at 6 PM
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Now the annual examinations are over, expat students are leaving Saudi Arabia’s international community schools in huge numbers.

The student drop-out rate is increasing day by day as more students request school leaving certificates, most of which are being seen as a prelude for returning to their home countries. In one school, over 3,000 students have indicated they’re leaving, 2,000 of whom haven’t yet completed their senior higher secondary levels. School managers believe the reason for the exodus is the effect on expat family finances of the recently introduced dependents’ fees.

Schools which had closed their admissions lists for next year are now being forced to reopen them to fill the classrooms, with one popular facility previously forced to use a lottery system due to its high number of applications now faced with vacant seats in its classrooms. As a result, the school has lowered its minimum admission age for kindergarten students. Parents of children now withdrawn from Saudi schools are facing a financial and emotional dilemma, with one telling local media he’s forced to send his children home for their schooling and their mother must leave as well to look after them. He’s going to have to set up accommodation in his home country, a massive economic burden but still cheaper than paying the new tax and funding their education in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile in Bahrain, lawmakers are discussing a proposal to ban expat workers in government organisations once they reach 60 years of age. Should the bill be passed, expats over 60 years of age will be removed from their jobs in ministries and public establishments, thus creating positions for Bahraini nationals. Justifying the proposal, its instigator quoted from the constitution’s Article 16, saying that foreigners should not be allowed to take public posts except in cases specified by law. A similar age-related proposal was brought forwards last year but was rejected by Bahrain’s Council of Representatives.
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