Give Bahrainis a chance to teach

Several private schools, including the Indian School, had sent letters to Parliament backing the move

  
Teaching students during isolation period. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Teaching students during isolation period. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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New legislation that would prioritise jobs for Bahrainis in private schools and institutes was yesterday referred to the National Assembly by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince Prime Minister.

The amendments to the 1998 Private Educational and Training Establishments Law were approved by MPs in November forcing the government to draft them as proposed law.

The new amendments received backing at the time from the ministries of Education and Labour and Social Development.

The GDN learned that several private schools, including the Indian School, had sent letters to Parliament backing the move.

However, Sacred Heart School suggested that Bahrainis should be prioritised only for Arabic language courses.

The Cabinet, in its explanation attached with the legislation, which will be referred during the weekly session today to the services committee for review, said: “The intended goals are appreciated but they are already achieved by the government.

“The Constitution, the National Action Charter, existing legislations and procedures, all prioritise jobs for Bahrainis and, because of that, we believe the amendments are unnecessary.

“The general employment policy is Bahrainis first – wherever and whenever, whether the private or public sectors, now or then.

“Should there be no Bahrainis suitable, temporary contracts are given to expatriates over a specific time period.”

The Cabinet asked for a rethink saying that the amended law contradicts public interest because it was considered unneccesary.

The Legislation and Legal Opinion Commission said the opposite in writing: “The law serves public interest and doesn’t contradict anything, while prioritising Bahrainis in the private education sector.

“The Education Ministry cannot accommodate all Bahraini graduates and this amendment would ensure they found employment.”

A senior MP claimed during a debate in November that many expatriates were ‘unfit’ to become teachers, causing an uproar on social media.

Parliament first vice-chairman Abdulnabi Salman alleged ‘expatriate housemaids’ were being recruited as teachers in private schools just because their spouses were working in Bahrain.

He shouted at the time that these teachers neither had the qualifications nor credentials to teach whereas well-qualified Bahrainis were being offered jobs as janitors in private educational institutions.

The move follows a similar battle in the health sector. Private healthcare providers now have to prioritise hiring Bahraini medics over expatriates under a new Bahrainisation drive approved by the National Assembly.

Both Parliament and the Shura Council approved amendments in 2019 to the 2015 Private Medical Establishments Law, which was later ratified by His Majesty King Hamad despite a rethink call from the government.

It obliges hospitals and clinics to present their employment requests to the authorities concerned and if qualified Bahrainis are not available then they will be allowed to hire expatriates.

The amendments also state that a Bahraini should be qualified and have experience to replace an existing expatriate doctor, nurse or other medic and administrative staff when existing contracts expire.

mohammed@gdn.com.bh

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