Saudi cleric Sheikh Saleh bin Hamid delivers the Friday sermon at the Grand Mosque.
Saudi cleric Sheikh Saleh bin Hamid delivers the Friday sermon at the Grand Mosque. Image Credit: The General Authority for Care of the Two Holy Mosques

Cairo: A prominent Saudi cleric has issued a warning against underestimating the portrayal of teachers in TV serials amid controversy surrounding a Saudi drama recently aired, accused of depicting teachers negatively.

"Education is the cornerstone of progress and renaissance," said Sheikh Saleh bin Hamid during a Friday sermon at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam’s holiest site. "The teacher serves as the backbone of nations and the cultivator of minds," he emphasised. The prominent scholar also urged for measures to deter anyone who defames teachers.

"Education succeeds when the teachers fulfill their duties perfectly. It flourishes when the teachers get convinced of their great role and major responsibilities in nurturing human potential," conveyed Sheikh Bin Hamid to the worshippers who filled the mosque for the weekly congregation prayers.

Highlighting the media's role in preserving the prestige of teachers, he sternly warned against presenting material that demotes teachers or undermines the nobility of their mission. "By manifesting respect for teachers, the nation progresses, and vice versa," he said, urging parents to support teachers and instill in their children the value of holding their teachers in high regard. "Don't allow them to underestimate or show disrespect to teachers," he added.

The sermon was delivered against a background of uproar over the content of "Al Nassim High School", a TV serial shown on a popular streaming entertainment platform. The contested drama revolves around riotous high schoolers. The serial has been accused of negatively portraying school administrators and teachers while projecting troublemaking students in a favourable light.

“The serial has shown bad students but has overlooked the disciplined students. It has also depicted a weak role for the teacher,” said Attia Al Kuheili, an education expert.

In remarks to Saudi TV Al Ekhbariya, he added that throwing a "negative reality" out of proportion results in underrating teachers and treating them disdainfully.