The Union of Private Schools has requested for compensation from the government in the likelihood that the parents of students fail to pay the remaining fees for academic year 2019/2020, and the schools can fulfill their obligation to pay salaries, rents, expenses and others related to payment of tuition fees, reports Al- Rai daily.

A source from the educational sector told the daily that the union’s demands are “logical and reasonable.” He disclosed that he requested compensation for schools from the government, like the compensation during the swine flu crisis in 2010.

He said, “the union expects that many parents will not pay the fees, because they did not receive the intended services. Therefore, the union seeks compensation from the government like any other investor who incurs losses due to the corona crisis.” The source indicated that the decision to suspend the academic year is a sovereign decision, which lies in the hands of the government alone and according to the recommendations of the Ministry of Health.

He pointed out the government evaluates the local scene and any proposal issued in this regard – whether by educators, academics, unions or associations of public utilities, and unions that represent the opinion of their owners and have complete right to do so; while stressing the need to respect the opinions of others, not necessarily to support or agree with them.

The source also praised the union’s remarks on distance learning, the most important of which are the students’ lack of training in distance learning and absence of interaction between students and teachers. He said the union also highlighted the lack of a clear mechanism for evaluation and follow up, in addition to the need for students to gather for the final examinations. He warned this endangers the lives of students due to the new coronavirus outbreak.

The source added the union’s requests were submitted to Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr. Saud Al-Harbi and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid at the same time. He revealed these requests are regarding the necessity to resolve the academic year issue and not to suspend it in this manner to prepare for the next academic year, as well as to plan for the end of the current academic year.

“For instance, such approach will prevent some private schools from violating the orders of the Cabinet regarding suspension of the academic year; considering one school continued to operate and receive students in the past weeks until the ministry sought the assistance of its interior counterpart to forcibly close the school,” the source added. Meanwhile, schools and educational districts affirmed they are completely free from any personnel, as they are fully committed to the decision of the Cabinet to suspend work in government agencies until April 12, while denying reports that some schools and educational districts are compelling secretarial departments to work, reports Al-Rai daily quoting a reliable source.

The source told the daily that there are some technical departments which require personnel to work as part of the nature of their duties, but even these employees are not reporting for work as per the directive of Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Saud Al-Harbi.

He said there will most likely be a meeting this week to make the necessary arrangements, discuss the most appropriate proposals for the resumption of the school year, and set the dates for the end-of-year exams. The source added that it is still too early to declare August as the month for 12th graders to return to school.

He explained it is not possible during this period to talk about setting dates, especially since the whole country is facing a serious health crisis which may subside within a month or may continue for months. He said the school hours, dates for exams and the next academic year depend on the current health situation and recommendations of the Ministry of Health. The source indicated that granting some government agencies the right to use 48 schools – an average of eight schools in each educational district – is evidence that the nation is facing a complex and protracted health problem. No one can predict its implications, results and effects.

These schools have multiple uses ranging from strategic storage and accommodation, he clarified. The source disclosed the education supervisors or heads of school departments were not asked for to present curricula for the remaining six weeks of the academic year; but it is possible that they will be harmonized during the coming period in all educational stages in line with the academic plan and end-of-year exam dates.

Read Today's News TODAY... on our Telegram Channel click here to join and receive all the latest updates