Anticipating raids, expat teachers are no-shows

Updated 03 September 2013

Anticipating raids, expat teachers are no-shows

Many schools faced the problem of teacher absenteeism upon reopening in response to the Labor Ministry’s recent statement prohibiting daughters of expats from working.
Zuha Younes, a teacher at an international school, said: “There are many reasons that account for staff quitting their jobs, among which are low salaries and the fact that they have to pay half of the Iqama renewal fees. To top this off, there are new restrictions for expats to work.”
She added: “These are very difficult times for schools and teachers. The Ministry of Education needs to step in and help resolve the problem.”
Fiza Nafees, another teacher, said that almost 40 percent of teachers in her school had left because they were having trouble transferring their sponsorships.
Padma Hariharan, director and head of the Novel International Group of Institutes, said many teachers failed to show up because they don't want to transfer their sponsorships, while others had left fearing consequences.
“Though more than 80 percent of our staff turned up on the first day, this first week will be difficult. You can’t run a school properly when such matters are pending. Many teachers are not sure of what to do, as they are unable to work on a temporary basis. We hope that a clear decision will be taken by the ministry,” she said.
She said the ministry should take into consideration feedback from schools when implementing decisions.
Tanver, a principal at an international school, said: “All our teachers for higher grades were present on the first day of school. It is only at the lower school that many teachers have not reported for work,” she said.

Meet Saudi Arabia’s artist to the kings

Saudi painter Hisham Binjabi’s stunning creations have become the choice of kings. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 8 min 28 sec ago

Meet Saudi Arabia’s artist to the kings

  • From the age of three, Hisham Binjabi has never lost his appetite for art

JEDDAH: When it comes to royal connections, Saudi painter Hisham Binjabi can truly claim to have made it an
art form.

During a lifetime at the easel, the unassuming Jeddah-based artist’s stunning creations have become the choice of kings.

And it all began at the age of just 14, when Binjabi painted a portrait of King Faisal and ended up presenting it in person to the late king of Saudi Arabia.

Further commissions were to follow, which resulted in Binjabi producing works of art not only for the Saudi royal family, but royalty in other countries too.

Today he owns two galleries in Jeddah from where he exhibits artwork and sculptures from around the world. 

Binjabi revealed his incredible story to Arab News while at work painting on canvas at a recent Jeddah book fair.

Hisham Binjabi made works of art not only for the Saudi royal family, but royalty in other countries too. (Photos/Supplied)

From the age of three, when he painted the walls of his family home in black, Binjabi has never lost his appetite for art. His talent was recognized at school where he was known as the “boy who paints,” and although he chose to major in science, a teacher spotted his artistic skills and taught him the basics of mixing colors.

Binjabi said: “After that I started to practice, and whenever I didn’t need to attend a class, I would escape to the painting room. As I became stronger with the use of colors, my teacher suggested I pick a subject to paint and I chose to do a portrait of King Faisal.”

After framing his picture, Binjabi was spotted carrying his creation down the street by the then-minister of education, who was so taken by it that he invited the teenager to present it to King Faisal himself. 

On the right track

The young artist continued to paint in his home and later studied English literature at King Abdul Aziz University, where again his talents were spotted. 

The dean of the university asked him to produce a painting to display in a tent, and this time the subject was to be camels.

During a visit to the campus, the then-King Khaled saw the painting and asked to meet the artist. “Before I knew it, I was standing in front of King Khaled,” said Binjabi. 

“The king asked me why I had painted camels, and I told him that camels were the friends of Bedouin people.”

The king invited Binjabi to go to Riyadh and attend the first ever Janadriyah Festival, and from then on his works became highly prized by royalty. The then-Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz asked him to produce a painting of his guests, a French prince and Sheikh Zayed of the UAE, watching camels through binoculars. 

As a result, Binjabi was invited to stay at Sheikh Zayed’s palace in Abu Dhabi, where he spent four months painting a family portrait for the leader.

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was to be another of Binjabi’s distinguished clients, and even while studying for a Master’s degree in Lebanon, he painted for the king of Lebanon.

He said: “It did get overwhelming. I never asked to be associated with royalty, it just happened. Something in my heart kept pushing me along and telling me I was on the right track.”

Today he still represents the Kingdom in many different countries. 

“My life is full of stories about art which I find inspirational,” Binjabi added.