A student’s absence from school for 20 days without an excuse makes the guardian liable to an inquiry by public prosecution, under the kingdom’s Child Protection Law. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Cairo: Parents of students who stay away from their schools in Saudi Arabia for 20 days without a plausible excuse could face jailing, a Saudi newspaper has reported.

The student’s absence from the school for 20 days without an excuse makes the guardian liable to an inquiry by public prosecution under the kingdom’s Child Protection Law, according to Makkah newspaper.

After finalising the investigation, prosecutors shall refer the case to the law court where the judge has the jurisdiction to issue a jail sentence of an appropriate term against the parent if the guardian is found to have been negligent about the student’s absence. The move is part of efforts to ensure “ideal studies” in the new academic year, the report said.

Listing the legal action process against the guardian of the absentee student, the paper said the school principal is to report the case to the respective education department that would open an inquiry.

In turn, the education department would refer the case to the Education Ministry. A family care department would hear the student’s testimony to determine the cause of absence from school.

The parent would be referred to prosecution for investigation before the case is referred to the court to hear it.

There was no immediate comment from education authorities on the report.

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More than 6 million students in different educational stages returned to school earlier this week across Saudi Arabia after a two-month summer vacation.

The three-semester school year in the kingdom is spread over 38 weeks and features 60-day different holidays, in addition to a 68-day summer break.

According to an official schedule, the first semester runs until November 16. The second semester is due to begin 10 days later and run until February 22. The third is scheduled to start March 3 and end on June 10.

As of the new school year in the kingdom, new subjects such as earth sciences, space and event managements are introduced in the secondary school stage.