- Kuwait Times Extra
The Education Ministry’s decision to distance guardians who are working in the same school where their immediate relatives are studying caused a furor of objection by school officials – the decision as I understood applies to the school director, secretary, as well as the teachers.
Why was such a decision reached and what was its purpose?
The purpose is to prevent cheating, disclosing exam papers and favouritism towards children of officials.
A relative of mine who works as a senior teacher told me that it came to the notice of the ministry that children of school officials get outstanding marks and they do not fail because their guardians are officials in the school, to a point where some students do not know how to read and write in the intermediate stage while scoring excellent marks. Such instances generated a sense of discontent, leading to complaints by the rest of students to the ministry.
The question is why guardians resort to cheating? Why do they attempt to provide students with advantages they do not deserve? The problem has nothing to do with children or students as they study and work hard in an environment where only honest competition and fair treatment by teachers exist. Our students are victims of a growing culture that allows some undeserving students to get the highest degrees and posts not only in schools, but also in jobs with the help of wasta, influence, tribal identity, family and sect loyalty.
So the result is cheating, laxity and carelessness, which will continue forever because there is no law in the country against fatherly care.
It is naive and ignorant to imagine that the problem is linked to the education ministry and school officials. This dangerous social phenomenon that has helped illiterates, the lazy and corrupt, cheaters and hypocrites rise to occupy the highest posts in the state is caused by the “state that cares”…because this state looks after everything and does not punish the citizen when he does not report to work on time, and absents himself from work or school, but is rewarded with increasing salaries and incentives. In such a situation, we should not expect deep rooted changes in the near future, also because the government allowed MPs to interfere in education issues, and MPs are politicians whose main interest is to satisfy the society to get their votes, and all that is taking place at the expense of education and the future of our children.
The problem is much more deeper than what the education ministry may have acted on, because the issue discussed is a deteriorating social and cultural condition happening in the third world that gives great significance to family, tribal and sectarian relations at the expense of the public interest.
The question is why has education, which was given prime importance in the Arab and Gulf countries, degenerated today? There are so many reasons that all cannot be mentioned here… but the most important is the quality of teachers, as previously Palestinian, Egyptian, Iraqi and others who taught us, were strict and were persistent until the student fell in line. I remember an Arab teacher from Egypt beat me really hard until my hands became swollen, and I went home crying and complained to Sheikh Yousuf bin Essa, who was the supreme judge at the time. He told me that the teacher had done a good thing and that I should comply with what he tells me because he is trying to help me.
Further, salaries of teachers today are low, especially those of our Arab brothers, who are also facing insults and assaults by their students and guardians.
This lax situation is created by some teachers who do not care if students succeed or fail, also by some students who beat teachers and destroy their cars if they do not pass them! Kuwait newspapers are full of stories about general laxity and the absence of respect for law. So if the teacher, doctor and police are being insulted and beaten without any societal or authoritative deterrence, then there is no hope for reform.
Finally, we do not think that the solution is in keeping guardians or relatives away from their children in schools…the correct action is in centralising exams at all levels, which means that the ministry prepares the questions and supervises examinations, not schools. — Al-Watan
By Dr Shamlan Y. Al-Essa
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