Large segment of teachers may vacate their apartments as start of school year delayed

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MoE co-ordinates over payment of teachers’ salaries

KUWAIT CITY, March 22: Government’s decision to allow about 67,000 teachers in public sector and private sector to leave the country with their families, after the Ministry of Education and Higher Education postponed the resumption of the school year for about six months, has given rise to widespread speculation about the possibility of vacating a large segment of the teachers to their apartments to avoid bearing the rents for this long period, reports Al-Rai daily.

While the latest statistics issued by the Real Estate Association indicated there are 80,000 vacant apartments whose owners are looking for tenants, the tendency of many international teachers to vacate their apartments warns of deepening the wounds of this sector, which is already suffering a large surplus in its supplies in return for weak demand.

For his part, Ahmed, a teacher in government sector said, “The length of the leave tempts some teachers to leave their apartments to save rental cost for this period.” He added a large number of teachers are leaning toward the option of vacating their apartments, stressing the building guards have been notified to leave their apartments from the beginning of next April.

Wissam, a teacher who lives with five other teachers in a bachelor building affirmed that they have informed the owner on vacating their apartment by the end of this month, stating they did not rent houses to store their items until they return because the cost of storage during this period is much higher than the usual price, indicating they will rather donate to the charitable organizations and buy new furniture upon their return.

Wissam justified the move by many expatriate teachers to vacate their apartments on the disruption of private lessons market since the first case of coronavirus surfaced in Kuwait based on parents fear for their children to come close to other people, which has caused great losses to a large segment of teachers who do not depend on salary. He noted the salary of an incoming teacher is “weak” and not sufficient to meet the requirements of an increasing living cost, especially after the Ministry of Education deducts KD 90 in housing allowance.

For his part, real estate expert, Abdulaziz Al-Dughaishem, expected the rents to drop by 50 percent and the rate of vacant apartments to rise significantly especially with the large number of teachers leaving their apartments at the moment, calling on the real estate owners at the same time to take proactive steps to lure teachers not to leave their apartments by reducing rents or exempting tenants from paying rents for a specific number of months.

He stressed that tenants have many opportunities at the present and the landlord is the weakest link while residential apartments, which are under mortgage, will be the most affected in the event that their tenants leave, because the banks may postpone the dates of paying installments for a month or two, but you will not be patient beyond that, adding “We may witness judicial battles afterwards.” Al-Dughaishm suggested the real estate market would witness a remarkable decline if the corona crisis continues to grow; stressing that smart business mind at this time holds “cash” to invest in real estate opportunities, which the crisis presents.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education continues to coordinate with its finance counterpart regarding the payment of teachers’ salaries in light of the Cabinet decision to extend the holiday until August, reports Al-Anba daily. Informed sources revealed to the daily that the proposal is to pay salaries as usual by depositing into the teachers’ accounts monthly; noting that disbursement of two salaries or summer vacation salaries is related to the teachers who will leave the country, not only getting the exit clearance. Sources said the disbursement of salaries at once is farfetched. Sources pointed out that in all cases, the ministry cannot take any decision in this regard unless it receives approval and instructions from its finance counterpart.

Sources affirmed the matter will be clearer this week, after coordination with the relevant authorities. In the same context, the ministry lifted the ban on male and female teachers wishing to travel after the Cabinet decided to extend the suspension of schools until August for Grade 12 students only, as the competent authorities were instructed to prepare the exit clearances for educational bodies in preparation for issuing them to those who want to leave the country.

The ministry set new dates for the second semester of the current school year – Aug 4 for the secondary school administration and Aug 8 for Grade 12 students. For the remaining academic levels, students will resume the second semester on Oct 4 and 15. Certificates will be distributed to 12th Graders, while middle and high school certificates until the 11th Graders will be distributed starting from Nov 22; while the new academic year kicks off on Dec 13.

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