Bahraini women protest after failing to secure jobs in government schools


They say that their plight has now been exasperated by a new ministerial decree that requires them to retake the test along with newer graduates.

"We already passed the examinations and should receive preference over the newer graduates," said Shafeeqa Ali Khadhem, a trained sports teacher since 2004.

"Taking the test again means all the years we have been waiting are wasted."

The protesters claim that the ministry has hired graduates who completed their degrees after them and say that this is not fair.

They carried banners asking the ministry why it does not recognise Bahrain University degrees.

Mona Jaffer, an Islamic studies teacher since 2000, said that the teachers have a difficult time working for private schools. "Private schools have a preference for non-Bahraini teachers," she said.

"Their pay for Bahrainis is often lower than government schools and their hours and working conditions are bad."

Fadheela Sayed Habib, who is a trained geography teacher, said that her specialisation makes it difficult for her to find any job other than as a teacher.

"We cannot even register under the Labour Ministry’s National Employment Project (NEP) because then the Education Ministry would consider us employed and not eligible for future teaching jobs when they become available," she said. "Working for the private sector isn’t an option, how can we survive on BD150 salaries?" Yesterday’s protest was the sixth held by the women in the last three weeks.

Education Ministry public relations head Dr Nabeel Al Asoomi said that he had nothing further to add to a previously issued statement, which stated that the hiring policy was based on merit and not on a first-come first-serve basis.

The ministry also previously denied the claim that NEP applicants are not recognised, saying that those registered under the programme are, in fact, given priority and that this has been communicated to the protesters.

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