Saudi women who left university 25 years ago still can’t find jobs

Sixty-second meeting with minister dashed their dreams, say graduates

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The old graduates say they were prevented from presenting their grievances before the minister of education by officials in his office.

By Abdulaziz Al-Rubaie

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

MAKKAH —
A number of Saudi women who have graduated from university many years ago have described their recent meeting with the minister of education as totally disappointing. They said the meeting did not last more than 60 seconds.

Many of the old graduates have been waiting to be appointed as schoolteachers for up to 25 years.

They said the extremely short meeting had dispelled their hopes and dreams, adding that they did not get a chance to present their predicament before the minister.

“We were not shocked by the silence of the minister nor his lack of sympathy with our case but by the people in his office who asked us not to talk or annoy the minister,” one of them said, requesting anonymity.

She said the officials in the minister’s office gave us clear instructions to keep silent and not disturb the minister who they said was extremely busy and had no time for them.

Fatima Al-Ghamdi, an elderly graduate, said great injustice had befallen the women graduates who did not obtain degrees in education.

“We were asked to obtain a diploma in education and then a master’s degree to be employed by the ministry. This is totally unjust because the graduates of the intermediate teachers’ colleges have been employed as teachers while we were absolutely ignored,” she said.

Ghamdi said the graduates of the intermediate colleges who were less qualified than them were appointed as teachers while many obstacles were put in front of them preventing them from finding jobs under the ministry.

She said some of the jobless women have graduated from the universities more than 25 years ago but they were still idling at home.

Ghamdi said the obstacles in the way of their appointment include the passing of the qualification test, which was introduced many years after their graduation.

“We should have priority in employment because we have graduated from Saudi universities many years ago. They cannot insist now that we should have obtained degrees in education,” she said.

Amal Al-Harithy said their demand from the ministry was to find jobs for them whether they were graduates from the teachers’ colleges or have master’s degree in education.

She said the ministry did not stop at the diploma of education as a prelude for the employment of the old women graduates as teachers but went further to ask them for a master’s degree.

“This is totally against the rules and regulations of the Ministry of Civil Service, which do not differentiate between the graduates in this manner,” she said.


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