What is happening in the girl schools?



WHAT the ministry of education is doing concerning its latest drive to contain the banned extremist groups, foremost of which is the Muslim Brotherhood, kicking them out of the classrooms and expelling them from the entire process of education is a move to be appreciated.

It is a positive activity to translate the speech of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman about the perilous nature of the politicized groups on education and the necessity to distance these schools from these groups, which have controlled them for more than 40 years, into action.

The ministry has, however, focused on the boy schools without turning to the dark side that is away from the spotlight, which are the girls’ schools.

Some of the female leaders of the girls’ schools are still living in the old times, doing the same things that they have been doing for many years.

They induct their personal religious views in the syllabuses obliging both the women teachers and the girl students to wear certain outfits according to conflicting fatwas.

There is no clear-cut legal text deciding what the women should wear and what they should not. There is also no accurate definition of the Hijab.

Some girls’ school leaders have made themselves preachers dealing with the teachers and the students in a manner which is not commensurate with the process of education.

What these leaders have been doing is a gross violation of the government laws and its legislations.

This frivolity is going on every day without the ministry intervening to stop it, to put an end to the encroachment on personal freedom and the open tampering with the rules of the law.

The women teachers, who were bold enough to raise their voices against this practice, were generally silenced by many kinds of punishments. They would receive low grades in their performance appraisal reports and would be investigated in long sessions, which are similar to inspection courts.

If the ministry is keen on containing extremist ideologies in schools, it should create a safe channel for communications with the officials in charge of its intellectual security.

These officials would be informed by the teachers, who are against extremism, about what is going on behind closed doors in the schools without fearing punishments.

Such a channel would protect the informants whether they are parents or teachers and would save them from harassment by the school leaders. It will also entice people to contribute to the reforming of the educational institutions and clean them up from the extremist ideas.

The channel would help halt the teachers with dark ideologies from reaching out to the students so as to brainwash them and contaminate their minds, as it has been the case for the past four decades.

The male and female citizens should be partners in the supervision over the educational institutions and also partners in translating the Kingdom's vision into a brighter future.

We are facing a ferocious enemy who is capable of hiding during the windy times before surfacing again after the wind has stopped. The enemy, who is good in camouflage, will wait until things cool down before he attacks again as it has happened many times in the past.

We should be cautious and be vigilant, for as the proverb goes ‘once bitten, twice shy’ indicates that we should not allow this dangerous ideology to bite us again.