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Palestinian teachers return to Kuwait after a 25-year absence

KUWAIT: Palestinian teachers are returning to Kuwait, ending an absence that spanned over a quarter of a century, to join their counterparts from Kuwait and other nationalities to contribute to the development of education. The government of Kuwait agreed to re-hire Palestinian teachers, many of whom left the country during Iraq’s 1990-91 invasion and occupation of Kuwait, thus paving the way for the Ministry of Education to contact the Palestinian embassy to recruit the teachers.
Palestinian Ambassador to Kuwait Rami Tahbob, in remarks to Palestinian newspapers, said Kuwait was planning to hire teachers for the 2017-18 school year. The Education Ministry signed, last April, contracts with 105 Palestinian – males and females – Math and Science teachers. Dr Haitham Al-Athari, Ministry’s Undersecretary, underlined keenness to improve education at the administrative and teaching levels.

Speaking to KUNA, Al-Athari said the ministry sought to hire Palestinian teachers whose expertise would contribute to educational improvement. He said the student was the core of the educational process because this student would be part of development of Kuwait. Al-Athari said the ministry was keen on recruiting excellent teachers regardless of their nationalities, however the Kuwaiti teacher remained the main contributor to elevating the teaching process to higher levels.

MP Dr Mohammad Al-Huwailah, Chairman of the Education Committee at the National Assembly, said he was confident the Palestinian teachers would boost educational level in Kuwait. “We in the educational parliamentary committee are keen on recruiting excellent teachers from abroad, in addition to emphasizing on the special role of the Kuwaiti teachers,” he said in previous press remarks. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in a statement earlier this month, rallied behind the teachers who are on their way to Kuwait, a nation that had heavily depended on Palestinian educators years ago.

“Kuwait fondly recollects Palestinian contributions to pedagogy and the passion with which Palestinian instructors have imparted their knowledge to the people of Kuwait,” Abbas told the contingent of teachers. He noted that the success of the educators will “open the door for the triumphant return of Palestinian instructors to the Gulf region. “We trust you to carry on the legacy of the Palestinian teacher,” Abbas said. Palestinian teachers accounted for 49 percent of overall teachers in Kuwait between 1965 and 1975.

However, teachers from Palestine were in Kuwait way before the 1960s. The first expedition consisted of four teachers; Ahmad Shehabuddin, Khamees Najm, Mohammad Al-Maghrubi and Jaber Hassan Hadeed, who came to Kuwait in 1936. The other Palestinian expedition, consisting of five teachers, coincided with the opening of new schools for boys in 1939-40. Palestinian female teachers first came to Kuwait in the year 1937-38. Sisters Waseefa and Refqa Ouda were the first. Then they were joined by Maryam Abdulmalek Al-Saleh; Kuwait’s first teacher. – KUNA

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