The Jeddah Prep and Grammar School (The International British/Dutch School) in Jeddah is planning to reinstate seven Saudi teachers after their dismissal in the absence of the principal of the school, Arshad Iqbal Ashraf.
Ashraf told Arab News that the decision was taken while he was on vacation and that he was neither consulted nor informed about it.
“The seven teachers who were terminated have to have their jobs back. They are excellent teachers and their dismissal was unfair. Now that I am back, I will ensure that they are reinstated as soon as possible,” he said.
The Saudi teachers were fired from the school “for no reason,” and had to leave immediately without their belongings or even abayas.
“I think it is the interim committee which is to blame for the incident. After all, the new head teacher was not qualified for the job and neither did she have a valid visa to work at the school,” said Ashraf. “She shouldn’t have been hired in the first place.”
He said that the decision of terminating the teachers should not have been taken in his absence, because the board had appointed him as head teacher. Moreover, he was only on vacation and had not been dismissed.
He explained that the school management had created a new committee while he was away, which did not fulfill the requirement of having British parents as part of the committee according to the rules laid out by the Ministry of Education.
“Although it was a temporary committee lasting for only three months, they should have still followed the regulations of the ministry,” he said.
Ashraf also complained that he had recruited more than nine teachers from the UK on the official visas of the school but the management was unable to provide them iqamas (work permits) on time so they had to go back.
“We spend a lot of time and effort to hire teachers and it is sad that they have to leave their jobs. I am trying to bring them back now,” he said. “The school has been running smoothly for almost 46 years and our students are in high positions in well-known universities around the world,” said Ashraf. “We select our teachers not only for their qualifications but also for their moral conduct.”
He said that he was very disappointed but that he would not let anyone ruin the school’s reputation. “My first priority is to stabilize the educational environment as this incident has given the school a lot of negative publicity,” he said.
The Labor Court has ordered the reinstatement of the seven teachers and for Ashraf to remain head teacher of the school.
Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly named the school concerned.