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From: SULAIMAN DAWOOD <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, Apr 3, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Subject: [DeccanMuslims] " Ministry urged to grant housewives work permits-SAUDI ARABIA"
Ministry urged to grant housewives work permits
JEDDAH: P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR
Wednesday 3 April 2013
The Ministries of Labor and Education's assurance that the present campaign against illegals will not target schools has relieved private school authorities as well as expatriate parents.
Education Ministry spokesman Muhammad Al-Dakhini said reports about the closure of some private and foreign schools were not true, adding that all schools have been operating normally. "Relevant government departments have informed us that no raids on schools have taken place. The press reports are based on rumors.
The ministry wants to ensure the stability of education process and protect interest of students," he said.
Syed Masood Ahmed, principal of the International Indian School in Jeddah, said IISJ has taken steps to legalize all its workers. He hoped the Labor Ministry would cooperate to expedite the transfer of some of its employees' sponsorships.
"I don't think there will be a raid on our school because ours is a community school supervised by the Indian Embassy," Ahmed told Arab News. "The embassy has told us that there is no need to panic as they have taken up the matter with higher authorities."
Ahmed and other school officials called upon Saudi authorities to allow qualified housewives of expatriates to work as teachers and administrators by giving them work permits and charging specific annual fees.
"For more than 10 years, the UAE has been allowing expat housewives to work in schools and other institutions after issuing work permits. I hope Saudi authorities would consider that system. It will be a big help for highly qualified expat women," said E.K. Mohammed Shaffe, principal of the International Indian School in Dammam.
According to a local press report, about 50 percent of private schools in the Kingdom have been closed down due to the fear of raids. When the raids began, a large number of housewives who work as teachers in these schools stopped going to work, fearing arrest and deportation.
More than 200,000 students study in the Indian community and private schools. Children's education is one of the prime concerns of expat workers in the Kingdom.
People have been spreading rumors about raids at various schools. Arshadullah Khan, admin manager at the Al-Falah International School (DPS Jeddah), told Arab News that no raid had taken place at his school. "Most of our teachers are under the school's sponsorship," he added.
He hoped the ministry would issue more visas to help the school recruit the required numbers of teachers and drivers. "There is no panic among our parents because they are aware of the situation and are cooperative," he added.
Khan said there would be no reduction in new admissions because of ongoing raids. "In fact, more and more students are seeking admission and we face a shortage of space. We don't allow more than 25 students per class in order to maintain DPS standards."
There are 1,800 students at DPS Jeddah and most of its teachers are recruited from India. The school has employed a number of Saudis to meet the ministry's Nitaqat (naturalization) conditions.
Salah Karadan, a community leader and former chairman of the IISJ managing committee, commended the Saudi government for supporting expats' children's education. He hoped the ministry would issue more visas to help schools recruit qualified teachers. He also backed the proposal to issue work permits for housewives. "The appointment of housewives will help schools charge lower fees that are affordable to parents," he told Arab News.