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Saudi teachers wait for daycare centers

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Al-Fawaz, Nadia
Publication Date: 
14 Sep 2015



Teachers and educational supervisors in different areas in the Kingdom hope that the Education Ministry will support the proposal to open up nurseries at the beginning of the school year.

As more women are joining the workforce, specialists say that there is a need to prepare a suitable atmosphere for them. Children’s day care, in particular, was seen as priority for a growing number of women working in the private and public sectors.

Many schools are still relying on their private efforts to provide nurseries for teachers’ children, but mothers say some of these nurseries lack a safe environment for children, which worries them and decreases their productivity.

The Education Ministry announced that over 2,000 nurseries in various regions of the Kingdom are ready to receive 18,000 children under the supervision of 2,709 babysitters, 2,185 administrative staff and 1,355 other employees. However, several teachers in the Kingdom stressed the need to have promising and firm decisions to support these nurseries.

Asir nurseries director Fawziya Hattan said Asir has a shortage of 100 kindergartens but that work is in progress on a comprehensive nursery, which will be operated by private investors.

“A committee was formed to survey all schools in Asir and we had a meeting with school directors where a committee from the development, planning and administration departments was commissioned to check on the possibility of having proper facilities in schools,” Hattan said, adding that the information will be submitted to the education department in Asir to take the proper steps for setting up nurseries.

Teacher Aliyya Al-Omari says that the majority of nurseries in schools were established through private efforts but that they lack a standard healthy environment for children, explaining that teachers are still waiting implementation of promises made by the education minister.

Business woman Nawal Al-Kalthami, director of a kindergarten explained that there are serious problems facing business people investing in this field, among them is the unwillingness of young Saudi women to work in daycare centers.

“Such projects also face difficulties in recruiting expats and providing work visas,” she said, stressing the need for joint efforts between the Ministries of Education, Labor, Commerce and Social Affairs, and Chambers of Commerce to support such investments saying that this is a recipe for success.

Economist Abdullah Al-Maghlouth said the daycare sector in the Kingdom is random and unstructured. “There is a need to have a department that controls the nurseries, issues the licenses and supervises them in all educational, health and environmental aspects,” he said. “Investment in this area will undoubtedly have good economic returns and provide job opportunities as it is no less important than proper management of kindergartens and schools.”

Maysa Mohammed, a teacher in a Riyadh school, still dreams of having a full-capacity daycare center at the school, which she says is a long-overdue project for all teachers in the Kingdom.

Many workers in the education sector said that such decisions don’t need approval from the state’s authorities but can be achieved through administrative decisions from ministries and schools. They stated that this investment opportunity would help end the suffering of teachers and school workers.

-reprinted from Arab News

Entered Date: 
16 Sep 2015
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