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Shortage of teachers in public schools; large number leaving

Severe shortage in eight specialties

KUWAIT CITY, March 20: According to statistics issued by the Ministry of Education, there are 74,326 teachers in public education schools in the 2020/2021 academic year, including 50,720 Kuwaitis and 23,606 non-Kuwaitis in all four educational levels, reports Al- Rai daily. The statistics indicated a severe shortage of teachers in eight specialties in three educational stages, in which number of Kuwaiti teachers is 6,131, and expatriate teachers is 9,939; in other words, 38.2 percent citizens and 61.8 percent expatriates.

The highest shortage of teachers is in the secondary stage for the subjects of Arabic, English, French, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and geology. Will the shortage of expatriate teachers stranded in their countries due to the noentry decision lead to confusion in the educational process?An educational source affirmed the seriousness of the situation in schools due to the large number of teachers who are leaving, unless an urgent government decision is issued for them to return. He explained that all the solutions studied by the educational zones to avoid the current shortage of teachers in some specializations are useless, even with the online transfer of teachers, because they are temporary solutions that may compensate for the shortage in a school but lead to a deficit in others.

The number of students in some virtual classes is large, which has opened up the appetite of those who have been cut short for years to enroll in adult education centers. The statistic showed that the number of female Kuwaiti teachers exceeded the expatriate teachers in the four educational stages, but in specific specializations. To be precise, there are 33,265 Kuwaitis (69.9 percent) compared to 14,308 expatriates (30.1 percent). The number of Kuwaiti teachers decreased significantly in the secondary stage, reaching 1,847 teachers, while the number of expatriate teachers is 4,231.

While the Ministry of Education is now conducting promotions for its teachers and administrators, a source indicated that excused absences for teachers who are stuck abroad threaten their job promotion, and decrease the required experience days according to Civil Service Commission Decision No. 3/2017. This decision only excludes those on periodic leave, scholarship leave, conscription and sports leave.

A school director criticized the Ministry of Education’s decision regarding online education for the first three primary grades, stressing that the shortage of teachers at this stage in his school is huge because three expatriate teachers traveled overseas. He asked, “So how will the shortage be compensated? Will it be by increasing the teacher’s quorum from the virtual classes to an unreasonable extent?”

An official source from the Ministry of Education played down the negative effects in schools due to the lack of teachers, stressing that, “The situation is not too bad, as the number of those stranded abroad is not high.”

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