Here is why teachers need a bigger cheque
Posted Sunday, March 3 2013 at 02:00
INSIDE OUT. Doctors and teachers should be the highest paid people in our society, for one takes care of our physical well-being and the other of our mental and intellectual progress. Nothing should bother their mind while carrying out such important duties.
Upon a visit to Kuwait, my country of birth, I happened to drive near my old secondary school where I finished my high school education. The type of feelings that one gets when passing by schools where one studied, depends totally on the kind of relationship one had with the whole education system of ones’ time. I had a bit of nostalgic thoughts going through my mind while looking at my old school, recalling both good and bad experiences within those walls.
Crushing weight of school fees
A few days later, I was talking to a non-Kuwaiti family friend, who happened to have some children in the Kuwaiti schools of today. She was talking about exorbitant amounts of school fees that the family has to pay to educate their three children.
Yes, things have changed and free education is now a privilege reserved only for Kuwaiti nationals and given the fact that the number of expats are increasing in this little country, I can understand the decisions made in that regard.
Nevertheless, I recall that we used to get all our uniforms, stationary, books and even snacks for free, all that our families had to purchase for us were the school bag and shoes.
With this change, any expatriate family living here should budget for schools as it does for rent and other life necessities. However, what our friend mentioned after that was a bit shocking. She said one of the heaviest expenditures was not only the private schooling, but the amounts set aside for private tuition.
This kind of tuition that is spreading like wild fire in most of the Gulf region countries, used to be in our times, only for students who had certain challenges in reaching the level or standard of other students, especially in the fields of mathematics and sciences. Today, apart from a select few students who excel on their own, the majority seem to be in need of such tuition.
This is not because students have become less intelligent, rather that teachers (who are also expats living in Kuwait) put less effort in class covering the subjects and leaving many essentials for the private courses where they get an extra income.
Important to mention that each of such classes costs about 30$ an hour. Not only that, one has to pay in advance to book the teachers at the start of each academic year, it seems that their slots get filled very fast.
Do you pay for the schooling you get?
Digging a bit deeper in this subject, actually makes it more of a global matter, a story that is repeated in many lands, and a question that keeps coming to mind: Are teachers today carrying out their duties as they are supposed to or are they just performing according to the salaries that they are paid at the end of each month?
A salary that many teachers in the world say is very low compared to the huge responsibilities entrusted upon them. It is a fact I have heard many times from teachers in Uganda too, who sometimes has to wait for months to be paid.
A poem we learnt as children was regarding the high station of teachers. It said one should stand in admiration and respect for teachers because they are almost like messengers sent by God.
I concur with this poet, and confirm that every subject I excelled at was directly linked with the way our teachers were guiding us through the lessons, the care and love they showered us with, even if it was a subject that we did not like.