Impossible Mission: German Company Seeking Solution for Voluntary Retirees in Education Ministry

2019-03-26 - 3:30 am

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): German Roland Berger company has begun its work on the restructuring of the Ministry of Education, while specialists are questioning the company's ability to restructure the ministry and cover thousands of voluntary retired teachers and specialists.

The Tender Board announced on January 30, 2018 that the German company made a bid of 1.83 million dinars, in return for providing advice to develop the structure of the Ministry and implement a program of reforms.

According to information, the company is surprised by the size of the gap that will be caused by the voluntary retirement of some of its employees, and the difficulty of covering them amid the presence of thousands of volunteer staff and employees unqualified for educational jobs.

The government hired in the Ministry of Education more than 3,000 volunteers, who came to work in the Ministry following a strike by teachers in solidarity with the popular uprising that erupted in Bahrain in February 2011.

Most of the volunteers did not have degrees when they were hired by the Ministry before sending them to achieve degrees in areas that were not useful. The duties of the volunteers are limited to "support"; tasks that do not fall under a job description in the government structures.

The appointment of the German company aims at restructuring the Ministry so that it effectively benefits from all its employees and covers the shortfall left by the voluntary retirement of thousands of principals, teachers and specialists.

The Civil Service Bureau states that the number of those retired from the Ministry of Education are estimated at about 4,000, most of whom will enter retirement by the end of the current academic year.

A principal who joined the voluntary retirement program "expected the company will face great difficulties in the restructuring of the ministry," noting that "the retirement of thousands of teachers and specialists can not be quickly compensated."

The principal, who preferred not to be named, pointed out that the volunteers do not hold academic degrees, "most of them are high school graduates and the Ministry of Education offered them to study majors that can not be relied upon in teaching such as business."

"There are many high school graduates working in the ministry compounds; they will certainly stay in their positions as they cannot be transferred to [teach] classes," he stressed. "I think we are facing a crisis that will eventually lead to a sharp decline in education."

The Government postponed the retirement of teachers until June 2019 so that it would be able to explore its options. Most of the voluntary retirees are still working in their jobs at schools.

Removing Directorates

In addition, it is likely that the company will cancel some job positions and directorates from the structure of the Ministry, including the Future Schools Project Directorate, a project launched by the Ministry since 2005, which aims at working towards relying on technology in education, which has not been achieved so far.

According to information, ending the school performance improvement initiative will be considered, as well as transfering the members of the improvement committees to schools.

It doesn't seem that the company will find ideal solutions to compensate for the shortage of staff in schools, and may eventually fill some educational jobs with unqualified people.


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