Saudi Gazette report
MADINAH – A number of new private schools for memorization of Qur’an has been opened in various districts of Madinah without any license, charging an annual fee of SR1,000. These schools do not come under the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and under the purview of any monitoring authorities.
Some of these schools are run by expatriates who have violated the Kingdom’s residency and labor regulations and some of them work there as teachers. Experts fear these schools could be used by evil elements for activities that would undermine the country’s security.
Al-Madina Arabic visited a number of these unlicensed schools in Al-Hijrah district within the outskirts of Prince Naif City and another school in Qurban Street, which operates in a rented building.
Dr. Abdullah Bin Ali Al-Maimouni, a lecturer at Taibah University and the imam of the Khandaq Mosque, emphasized the need for a supervising authority to ensure the quality of education provided by any school. “Qur’an schools also require a monitoring authority,” he added.
“If a Qur’an school is operating without any license or supervising authority, who will ensure it is moving in the right direction and imparts correct teachings of Islam?” he asked. Such an authority is essential to protect these schools from falling into the hands of deviants, he added.
He urged all Qur’an schools in the country to correct their legal status by completing the necessary formalities to get a license from the Ministry of Islamic Affairs. He commended the ministry and charitable organizations in supporting Qur’an memorization classes and schools all over the Kingdom.
Abdullah Al-Kuwaiti, director of private and foreign education, said his department has closed 13 unlicensed private schools in Madinah. “A committee is following unlicensed kindergartens in the city, which will be closed shortly and their case will be presented to the governorate.”
He warned citizens and residents against dealing with unauthorized schools in order to protect their children and ensure their social and intellectual security as these unlicensed schools lack even the minimum security and safety requirements.
“The names of licensed schools are available on the department’s website and people can make use of their services,” Al-Kuwaiti said and urged citizens to inform the department about schools that operate illegally without license.
Mohammed Al-Johani said people should not misinterpret the call to reorganize and legalize Qur’an schools and improve their services as a move against the holy book. “We have to develop these schools in order to play a significant role in spreading the message of the Qur’an.”
The Charitable Society for Qur’an Memorization in Madinah said its activities including Qur’an lessons at mosques are licensed by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.
Umm Mohammed, former teacher at a Qur’an school, said she was not aware that the school where she worked for 23 years, was operating without a license. “The school authorities terminated my service and appointed an expatriate woman in my place. When I went to the labor court to obtain my financial rights I learned that the school was operating without license for the last 25 years.”
Lawyer Dr. Musaed Al-Jubairy emphasized that the Kingdom’s laws do not allow the opening of a Qur’an memorization school without a license. “Qur’an schools should follow the rules and conditions followed by other schools in the country to obtain a license,” he told Al-Madina.