Schools blame staff shortages on frozen fees

By Majd Othman

KUWAIT: While the ministry of education has announced school fees for the current academic year are fixed and there cannot be any increases, private schools are suffering from a severe shortage of staff. Kuwait Times spoke with Noura Al-Ghanem, President of the Private Schools Union, to discuss the effect of this shortage on the educational process, who stressed the importance of increasing tuition fees to upgrade the level of private education in Kuwait.
“Private schools in Kuwait are suffering from a shortage of employees, mostly support workers, due to administrative decisions that are still not issued by responsible government institutions,” she said. “We have another problem in the private school sector. When teachers resign at the beginning of the academic year, it is difficult to replace them. To avoid this problem, we need quick decisions to attract new teachers, in addition to reducing the documentary cycle for recruiting to meet the needs of schools of teachers,” Ghanem said, adding transfers are normal in any educational system in the world.
“The documentary cycle for hiring workers, whether from Kuwait or abroad, now takes more time than before and has become longer and slower, especially after the pandemic and closures. Therefore, the situation has become harder, and it is not easy to bring in workers like before,” she said. “Teachers’ salaries in Kuwait are much lower than in other GCC countries. This issue cannot be resolved in Kuwait unless we raise school fees, especially since the last hike was almost six years ago. At the same time, we are affected by global inflation, and all prices have increased except the fees of private schools in Kuwait,” Ghanem told Kuwait Times.
“If we do not provide teachers a comfortable environment, and other countries provide them with better benefits and higher wages, nothing will force them to stay in our schools. If we cannot raise school fees to pay higher wages to teachers, we will not be able to provide our schools with highly qualified teachers,” she argued.
Ghanem pointed out that a decision to cut fees that was taken in 2020 during the pandemic – 25 percent for private English schools and 40 percent for private Arabic schools – was a random and improperly thought-out decision that caused huge damage to private schools due to mass dismissals and resignations. “We need to understand that qualified teachers are like hard currency. It is a global issue – the US is also suffering to find teachers for their schools, as well as European countries, and we are a part of this global situation. So, if we do not provide teachers with benefits to stay, other countries will attract them with better opportunities,” she warned.

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