Monday, October 22, 2007

Outlaws Teaching in Kuwait?

During a recent visit to my extended family, the subject of schooling and education was brought up. A young woman mentioned a conversation she had with a friend of hers who works in some sort of Kuwaiti dock in Canada that gives out visas primarily to teachers. That friend of hers noticed that hoards of Canadians were applying for visas and flying across the Atlantic for the sole reason of teaching in our beloved desert land. “But she was seriously wondering why the teachers chose Kuwait out of all places,” the woman remarked. It turned out that some of the applicants had a criminal record and thus, were banned from teaching in Canada. Their way out would be to pursue their career in an obscure place on earth that is oblivious to their shady past and would not go into the hassle of having a complete background check on that individual. This was the first time I heard of such stories with a source I can track down. A while ago, I read about a British teacher who was banned from the UK due to his pedophilic crime(s).

Now, I know many parents are paying despicably huge sums of money to grant their children the best education in Kuwait amidst a healthy environment. But to think that we are paying crooks, pedophiles and rapists to teach our future generation is quite a horrendous thought let alone it being a terribly disappointing and quite alarming reality. We shrugged our shoulders when private schools hailing American titles hired cheap, young labor from the likes of Australia and New Zealand, but convicts? That is a tad bit harder to swallow, to say the very least.

I think that both the Kuwaiti government as well as the institutions that hire such people are at fault. Entry to Kuwait is easier than it was before; however, since we are aware of this problem – frolicking academic fugitives – I think the government should be a little more stringent when accepting applicants that specify the reason for their extended visit, “I’m doing it for the children!” Yeah I bet you are.

Schools as well should be wary of admitting everyone and anyone. Just the mere thought of a Wacko Jacko-esque man teaching at my young brother’s school makes me blush with fury.

I recently mentioned to a friend of mine that the general public is aware of such matters along with other wonderfully corrupt goings-on in our country. Personally, the part that infuriates me the most is that people just do not give a damn anymore. As they say, que sera sera…

Joy Division - Dead Souls
The Velvet Underground - What Goes On
David Bowie - Drive in Saturday
The Lemonheads - Paid to Smile
REM - Old Man Kensey
Collective Soul - Forgiveness
Nirvana - You Know You're Right
Gin Blossoms - Hey Jealousy

at 7:30 AM


  1. Anonymous Sushi posted at 12:58 AM  
    I was quite surprised at the number of Canadians in opposed to other nationalities that we're accustomed to having in my nephews' schools, but when I asked I was told they were cheapter to hire. The interesting part is that many of the American teachers that we were used to having around for years suddenly left the management and opened their own nurseries. I'm still not sure why. Now that you mentioned this, it just added to the fishy stench.

    Seriously you can never know who you're putting your kids under in these circumstances; nevertheless, I definately agree on a better inspection before hauling in other countries' dirty laundry :/
  2. Blogger Stinni posted at 8:16 AM  
    I know of a male British teacher at ACA who molested a young male student and it was all swept under the carpet because the family was ashamed and didn't want the story to go public. The British teacher was quietly transferred to another country.

    By the way, a lot of the maids/nannies who parents hire to raise their kids are also criminals. I know two people who had maids who were wanted for murder in the Philippines but left the country on fake passports before officials could put them in jail.

    So yeah, Kuwait: we have a problem.
  3. Anonymous chikapappi posted at 9:16 AM  
    God! This is freaky! I never knew of that!
  4. Anonymous Anonymous posted at 9:49 AM  
    Interesting post that should be raised to the authorities, MOE for example. Ministers such as Nouriyah Al-Sabeeh have enough intelligence & she’s open minded to thoroughly look into this issue & take action. I seriously think you should raise this to a decent journalist who can dig deeper & get evidence for the facts you’ve mentioned & try to deal with this serious issue.
  5. Blogger 1001 Nights posted at 12:05 PM  
    Wow! I've never heard of that before. I don't understand the necessity for hiring cheap labor when these schools are getting paid that much. Are foreign teachers THAT much better paid in their own countries?

    The thing with getting teachers from Western countries is that we might have trouble getting information or performing background checks given privacy laws in the teachers' country of origin. The solution in my opinion is that the parents DO NOT RELY on the government and DEMAND that their private schools make teachers that they plan to hire provide them with clear criminal records - and make those available to parents should they require to see them. This has to come from the parents of children in private schools teaming up and getting some sort of petition going.
  6. Blogger The Aggressor posted at 2:34 PM  
    Shouldn't the hiring school, or the employment agency be responsible for these screenings??

    We're talking about private schools here, that means government's role is that of 'oversight', not control. It's the business owner's responsibility to make sure that he's not paying criminals to come & educate his country's children.

    I suggest, instead of writing to the government, you should write to all the private schools in Kuwait, CC'ing the respective embassies and the owners, if possible.

    The government would easily take this up with the parliament....good luck on that!
  7. Blogger shoosha posted at 4:42 PM  
    ooo now they say inna they want to increase the fees on private schools! haah, funny
  8. Anonymous Intlxpatr posted at 7:02 PM  
    If that's true - both about the teachers and/or about the nannies, with criminal histories, it is horrifying. Putting people with low impulse control in the company of children is just asking for problems.
  9. Blogger Erzulie posted at 12:39 AM  
    sushi: I haven't heard about or noticed any stories or news about Americans opening up their own place. However, the thing that I noticed in my old school - one of the well-known American schools in Kuwait - is that the majority of the staff are young and not American. During my time at school - which was not long ago - the average age of all teachers was 40+ and all were American. The best teachers I had were 50+ and now, they're practically non-existent.

    stinni: Quietly transferred to another country? He should've been jailed for his crime. I have a lot of respect for teachers. Heck, I can barely teach my own younger brother without losing it. But to nudge a person in academia out of the state just because they're foreign is ridiculous.
    And the whole housekeeper/nanny issue is a WHOLE OTHER issue. I won't be surprised that a lot of houseworkers have committed some sort of crime in their home country. However, I think that having a nanny raise your child is in a crime in itself. Sure, some people cannot afford to have one parent staying at home for the kids during their pre-nursery years while the other parent brings in the bread but personally, if anyone brings kids into this world, the only person who is solely responsible for their safety and care is the child's parents. If someone is not willing to accept that, then they do not deserve to have kids. Period.

    chika: Yup...

    anon: Well, I'm surprised that there wasn't anything written about this in the press. I will email someone about it so they could get their hands on hard evidence rather than cite conversations over evening tea.

    1001: I do not know about other schools, but the teachers at my school had their housing paid for and compared to what they got in their old jobs, the pay in Kuwait is better. As for the privacy issue, I think that just as a teacher's criminal record is accessible to the school he/she wishes to teach at in his/her home country, the same should go for other destinations the teacher wishes to work at. And I do agree with the parents taking action since it is for the sake of their children's well-being and frankly, I think they're paying more than enough for their right to know.

    aggressor: Agreed :) Will do.

    shoosha: The fees are skyrocketing and the standards, unfortunately, are going down or have reached a stale plateau.

    intlx: Well, this might sound slightly racist, but I personally see nannies/houseworkers having criminal records as more expected than a teacher. Why? Simply because of their background. Most houseworkers are poor, uneducated and lived in squalor their whole lives. Such standards of living makes them more prone to living a life surrounded by crime whether it be petty or bloody. When a teacher commits a crime, however, it is a little bit hard to grasp since they were always positioned as smart, dedicated and dignified individuals who work to better the future and never to corrupt it.
  10. Blogger Intlxpatr posted at 4:55 PM  
    I posted my comment yesterday before reading the Kuwait Times - huge article about sexual predators in American schools, and the problems with trying to convict them. The communities don't want to believe it is happening.

    I think this is a problem we have always had, but people are stepping forward now. Women and children also used to just disappear, records weren't so well kept, and could disappear . . .I think we just know more now.
  11. Blogger Delicately Realistic posted at 10:25 PM  
    Thats terribly disturbing!
  12. Blogger Judy Abbott posted at 11:08 PM  
    add to that... ppl live between us and see how our day to day life is share the same backgrounds you mentioned.

    i'm talking about the house maids and nanies!
  13. Anonymous Holla posted at 1:30 AM  
    Paedophiles you say? 3adi they will fit right in Kuwait and Arab culture as a whole, just like Bahrain is getting jiggy with Jacko.

    Actually if they did a little incest on the side they would be welcome with open arms.
  14. Blogger Erzulie posted at 6:34 PM  
    intlxpatr: I got lost a bit with the whole "women and children just disappear" bit you threw out. Really? Never heard of that. Maybe in the alien outskirts of Kuwait where you drive while on the lookout for rotten eggs being thrown your way. But about the teacher thing, I am so glad that there was an article written about. Kids go to school for an education and not to be scarred for life.

    DR: Yup...

    judy: I was talking to my sister about nannies/housekeepers in Kuwait. I told her that nowadays, having a good housekeeper working with you is like what the wise elderly say about marriage i.e. "qisma oo ni9eeb." I personally am against anyone raising kids except the parents. My children are mine alone, not Mary's or Sasha's or whatnot. I consider tossing one's kids over to a stranger hired from the impoverished, mud-housed suburbs of Hyderabad as wrong as leaving one's kids with a streetsweeper. Nannies here just do what they do as a way out of the life they had back home, they do it mainly for the money and I doubt that a good number of them clean up after their employers and their children because they like it. Moreover, their employer's extremely bad treatment triggers such violent reactions mainly targeted toward the employees' kids, which in my opinion is an expected result since a lot of Kuwaitis and residents here treat and abuse their help as if they own them and as if they are slaves.
    *sigh* I'm going to stop writing now because this specific topic has a lot of issues that cannot all be covered in a reply to one's comment (!)

    holla: ma3indik salfa
  15. Anonymous Fort Dicks posted at 7:19 PM  
    Recruiting the cream of expat teachers and retaining them for long is proving to be the Achilles heel for most schools in Kuwait, due to quality of life issues expat teachers find comparing and contrasting Kuwait with Dubai or Abu Dhabi. But that's going off on a tangent to the discussion in hand.
    It is disturbing that Western outlaws could well, be in the employ of some of the pristine private schools in Kuwait. Having said that, what is the defining criteria for someone with a criminal record? Is it someone with a chronic history of traffic violations or something far more serious. In reality, I suppose majority of those with a criminal record will fall in the former bracket of traffic offences. Of course, it isn't setting a healthy precedent but it is anyday better than having pedophiles or sexpots for teachers.
  16. Blogger Erzulie posted at 10:30 PM  
    fort dicks: i did think about the possible fact that some teachers chose to fly across the world due to not paying off their tickets and/or taxes. whatever the reason is, i think there should be a mandatory background check made by each school for every teacher who comes their way. that's only fair since parents are paying a LOAD of money for the best education they can provide their kids with.
  17. Anonymous Goda posted at 1:53 PM  
    My in laws behave more like outlaws in every possible way. Can we export them as teachers to your country, please? Will be a darn good riddance for both me and my partner here :)
    Much appreciated,
  18. Blogger Erzulie posted at 3:37 PM  
    goda: sometimes it's better to ignore a nuisance than to deal with it in rage. if you play your cards right, something will soon better your life.

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