Fired while pregnant
Illustrative image. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: A private school group in Amman has issued a circular instructing its female staff to plan their pregnancies so that their deliveries will be during summer holidays.

The directive aimed to prevent teachers from taking maternity leave sparked outrage on social media and drew the attention of the Jordanian Ministry of Education, which issued a sternly-worded statement against the school.

The directive to female teachers.

Ahmad Al Massaida, the ministry spokesperson, denounced the circular as a blatant ‘act against the teachers.’ A special education department team has been despatched to the school to address the issue.

The school, finding itself on the receiving end of intense scrutiny, was quick to back-pedal. In a statement, it said that the directive would not be implemented and rejected it entirely, labelling it ‘unacceptable’.

The school administration emphasised its compliance with applicable laws and regulations, underlining its respect for employees’ privacy rights.

The incident comes amid a wider debate about the treatment of teachers, particularly in the private sector. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, numerous teachers have lost their jobs due to economic repercussions, with 424 schools closing their doors and thousands of educators being laid off.

The impact has been felt most by female teachers who constitute 70 per cent of all employees in Jordan’s education sector and 90 per cent in private schools.

There have been ongoing calls for investigation into the alleged abuses against teachers in the private sector, including job insecurity, low wages and additional burdens unrelated to their educational roles.

Some teachers have reported contract terminations during the summer holidays, being excluded from social security and health insurance coverage, and being tasked with accounting, administrative, and secretarial work without additional compensation.