Dear Dr. Spilchuk…
An Administrator and a Teacher with Opposite Opinions about Kuwait Incident.
Dear Dr. Spilchuk,
I am a Western Admin. working in Kuwait. I do not fear for my position. I use in-school suspensions as part of my discipline procedures and the majority of the parents I work with would prefer me to use this method of discipline rather then an out-of-school suspension. I will continue to do this. Prior to doing this, I call the parents, we discuss the incident and the consequences. Thus far I have always had the parents support. Please the Katherine Phillips incident is an isolated case, pushed by a very arrogant parent who has no understanding of the ramifications of what he did as I am sure he does not care.
Many of the international schools are required by their accreditation board to have Western admin if they desire to maintain their accreditation. Having lived in Kuwait for the past 8 years, I have only heard of one teacher who was held and that was for good reasons. Other educators were released from contracts for actually doing very foolish things which included not respecting the traditions and values of the country (the Flowers incident is too humorous to actually use as an example).
The Ministry of Education has a habit of making blanket statements before actually looking at the whole picture. The decision making within the country, as a whole is reactive not proactive and it will take years for them to put together a package which their educationally qualified nationals will find acceptable.
The private schools are a business for profit and need to listen to their parents (the consumers). I am sure that approx. 85% of the parents have chosen to have their children in these private schools for the Western education and the desire to send their children to Western universities. The majority of the parents understand that if the accreditation criteria is not maintained their children will not meet the standards required to attend universities outside Kuwait. This will become a major issue if Western admin. are no longer in the picture.
I am concerned for the many conscientious students and teachers in the many international schools who will suffer because potential teachers are not seeing the whole picture.
From a Western administrator who plans on ending my career in Kuwait (at least 10 more years to go).
Hello Western Administrator,
Thank you so much for your alternative view on this situation. Clearly you have the depth of experience to add to this discussion between and among International educators. You will note in my message to the general Kuwait public that I support much of what you are saying. A hard line by the Minister of Education in Kuwait will be the ultimate downfall of the international Education System in that country. There is no doubt in my mind that up to this point there have been good relations between Western teachers/administrators and the general Kuwait public/private school system, albeit that it is a system designed for profit.
Best wishes on your continued success in your career as an administrator in Kuwait. Should you ever need ISR in the future for any reason, be assured we will be there for you.
Dr. Barbara Spilchuk
ISR Teacher Advisor
Dear Dr. Spilchuk,
In response to the incident at Al Bayan International School with Katherine Phillips, it seems to me that the greatest reaction would be a collective response by the entire international school community. I would suggest that teachers presently working in Kuwait should complete their present contracts and not renew them, instead after completing the contract they should seek employment elsewhere. Teachers attending recruitment fairs should neither seek nor accept an interview with a Kuwait school. In addition, a progressive step would be for schools to meet a set of standards set by the recruiting agencies for the school’s attendance at recruitment fairs. This set of standards could extend to countries as to the Katherine Phillips incident and the response of the Kuwait government.
Have a good day,
You make some excellent points. If you check the ISR web site, you will see that the Kuwaiti Minister of Education has made their own political response to Katherine’s situation and the active political involvement by ISR and other Recruitment/Teacher organizations who placed pressure on the American government to assist Katherine. It appears that there is a ban on the future hiring of Western administrators in Kuwait. My thoughts about this announcement are that Western teachers will find a great difference in the running and administration of Kuwaiti schools in the future as a result of this ban, and those who have not yet chosen to complete their contracts and leave following the coming year will do so as the situation tightens and control becomes less conducive to International School settings normally experienced around the world.
Thank you so much for you concern and input. I believe it will be International Administrators and teachers in the field who will determine Kuwait’s participation in International education in the future. I am in contact with some of the recruitment agencies and ISR does have their ear to some degree. Your input in this regard is invaluable.