JEDDAH – The Ministry of Education has tasked school principals with reporting signs of extremism in their staff, Al-Watan Arabic daily reported Tuesday.
The ministry, according to Al-Watan, has commenced its “Complete Protective Program for Education Staff Issues” with workshops in Madina, Sabya and Qassim, a program described by Deputy Minister for Education Affairs Abdul Rahman Al-Barrak as a “comprehensive system to monitor teachers”.
Al-Barrak told Al-Watan on Monday that the program would observe “performance and ideological leanings” through “school administrations and supervisory bodies”.
The newspaper reported sources as saying that school authorities had received a circular requesting principals or other officials directly responsible at schools to produce detailed reports on teachers which should contain any observations related to issues concerning extremism or “lack of patriotism”.
The sources said that the reports were one of the stipulations of a “procedural guide” outlining 18 issues that has been produced for handling staff issues.
“The workshops are currently discussing trial applications of the guide and will take into account new measures for school principals and supervisory bodies to inform of various issues, including ideological extremism,” the sources said.
“The guide’s measures have already been introduced at ten school administrations on a trial and modification basis ahead of being put into effect across the country.”
The scheme, Al-Watan was told, would be introduced at both boys’ and girls’ schools after the measures were initially targeting only male teachers, and would involve the utmost confidentiality in the handling of cases. Cases will be dealt with, the newspaper said, “without delay”, and with the “coordination of education bodies through the relevant bodies at the Ministry of Interior”.
Saudi Gazette reported on July 13 an adviser to Prince Muhammad Bin Naif, Assistant Interior Minister for Security Affairs, as saying that approximately 2,000 teachers had been transferred to administrative positions outside education over the last two years for promoting extremist ideology.
Abdul Rahman Al-Hadlaq, who is the Ministry of Interior’s head of the General Administration for Intellectual Security, described the teachers in question as having “turned the educational message of study subjects into an administration for the promotion of deviant ideology”. – SG