‘Work of private sector teachers governed by contract with schools’

Students return to in-person classes after COVID-19 restrictions mandated online learning to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in Jordan. (File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Despite the decision issued by the Council of Ministers to postpone the beginning of the second school term to February 20, some private schools went against the order and decided to start school on February 1, to the dismay of some teachers who complain that they did not have enough official leave.اضافة اعلان

A private sector teacher who spoke on condition of anonymity told Jordan News that she initially refused to start teaching early because she wanted to spend more time with her family, which she considered her right, but the school told her that failure to work during that period would be considered unpaid leave.

Jordanian Teachers Syndicate's lawyer Bassam Freihat told Jordan News that it is “illegal” for private schools to start the term earlier than requested by the Cabinet.

Freihat said that teachers have the legal right to enjoy a vacation between the two semesters, and that the Ministry of Education approves the official dates for the start and end of the school year, so any change schools undertake is unofficial and not binding on teachers, who should not be threatened with salary cuts.

Head of the Syndicate of Private School Owners Munther Al-Sourani said that teachers work throughout the year, that they are obliged to work according to the contracts they signed with the school, and that they are paid for the entire year.

According to Sourani, “the teacher shall have annual leave only; otherwise, he has to work as stipulated in the work contract and as stipulated by law”.

That said, he considers the decision of some schools to start the semester too early a violation of the Ministry of Education decision. “Even if it is distance education, it should not be counted as part of what the school must provide in face-to-face teaching,” he said.

Director of the Special Education Department Mohammad Alwan told Jordan News that what governs the work of teachers in the private sector is the contract between them and the school, and therefore, the Ministry of Education has nothing to do with it.

Still, Alwan said, “there is no face-to-face semester before February 20”.

According to Alwan, some five schools announced that they would start teaching on February 1 and that these schools were asked to revise their decision.

He said that an official paper was issued prohibiting face-to-face education until February 20.

Distance education, he said, is done to compensate and help students make up for the time lost due to closures.

Thus, while the ministry's decisions was issued to prevent direct contact between students, "we do not prohibit the provision of classes remotely”, to help students, he said.

At the same time, Alwan emphasized that remote classes will not be “counted as part of the face-to-face classes that will start at the beginning of the second semester, they are not compulsory, and they can be done only with the guardian’s approval.

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