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Friday , January 22 2021

School working hours

I work in a private school in Kuwait and my nationality is British. My school (employer) is increasing my workload. I would like to know the maximum amount of lessons that the Ministry of Education allows international teachers to deliver. I would also like to know the duration of lessons.

I believe my school (and many others in Kuwait) is breaking the regulations by making us teach up to 35 lessons a week.

Name withheld

Answer: No, neither your school nor others are breaking the law by making you teach up to 35 lessons a week because according to the Kuwait Labor Law you can be made to work up to 48 hours a week.

This means that you are required to work a maximum of 8 hours a day unless you have a contract which says otherwise. With each period of 40 minutes, with a break of five minutes between each period and a recess of 20 minutes, a half a morning assembly (for some schools), schools normally have a timing of 7.30 am to 2.00 pm (six and a half hours) and sometimes more. So, even if 6 periods of 40 minutes each are squeezed in during the school working hours, you would still have ample time for other activities at the school.

Please remember that it is very normal for schools to take the working hours for teachers as the time actually taken for periods in the classrooms. Not only that when schools advertise teaching jobs, it is clearly mentioned (in most cases) that you are required to take anywhere between 30-36 periods a week plus devote at least two hours a day to other school activities.

So, even all these do not add up to 8 hours a day (for schools which have only a 5-day week, the 6th day’s hours are divided over the 5 days).

You can’t complain about the issue unless you are made to work over 8 hours a day (6 hours in Ramadan) or you have a contract which clearly mentions that you are required to teach for a certain number of periods and you are made to work more than for what you were contracted.

Yes, you will say that you are required to put in a number of hours daily to prepare for the classes, attend extra-curricular activities and other activities related to the school plus mark books … which is why schools normally schedule only 5 to 6 periods a day (some even less) so that the teacher is not required to work over 8 hours a day.

If, however, you feel that the school is violating the terms of your contract you can report the matter to the Private Education Department, located in Block 10, Salmiya, or file a case against the school with the Labor Department in your area.

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