(MENAFN - Arab News) Education Minister Prince Khaled Al-Faisal has instructed regional directors to take note of absent teachers after schools reopened Sunday and warned that absentees would face stringent punishment.
The minister also instructed directors to inspect schools on Sunday to ensure that teachers and educational guides have reported back to work after the two-month annual vacation.
In a circular distributed among all regional directors Prince Khaled insisted that he be informed of even a single day of absence.
'We will take strict action against absentees' the circular warned. The school vacation began at the end of June.
Education directors in the Kingdom's 13 regions have directed school supervisors to conduct inspection tours to find out which of the teachers did not show up for work. Teachers reported for duty on Sunday to get schools and classrooms ready for the return of students next week.
Ezzuddin Hafiz a teacher called on education authorities to adopt innovative systems to encourage both teachers and students to attend classes on the first day of school.
'Teachers must be motivated while students should be given prizes or extra marks for attending classes on the first day. We should also introduce interactive programs to make education interesting for students' he told Arab News.
He said that both public and private schools face the problem of absenteeism after vacation.
'Prince Khaled should appoint a research team to find out positive methods to address this issue' he added.
Hafiz emphasized the need for enlightening parents on the need to send their students to schools on time. 'Some families will have plans for an extended vacation' he pointed out.
He said the extreme weather is another reason many families are not sending their children to school.
'Some public schools ask children to take part in cleaning schools after they reopen. Children will find such a task difficult in the sweltering heat' he said.
Hafiz also pointed out that most teachers do not start classes in the first week after reopening. 'This sends a bad message to both students and their parents. Teachers should be asked to give lessons from the first day of school. This will definitely have a positive impact.'