Shortly after the revolution, the people of Tunisia had yet to struggle. Accusations in different sectors became a problem. I am writing this article, as a Tunisian, to educate the world on an problem that media has yet to report.
My name is Hind Houas, I am the daughter of a hardworking Tunisian. My Father has taught his entire life so Tunisians can enjoy freedom and education. Currently, my Father is subject to resigning from his career as Headmaster. My Father, as well as all of the headmasters of Tunisia, have kept education in order, even under the strict dictatorship of Ben Ali. In the most unstable conditions during the Revolt, the Headmasters made sure education was key.
My Father informed me of his decision to resign from his job and it did not surprise me. He made a life changing decision based upon his ethics, morals, character and 17 years experience in the field of education as Headmaster in various parts of Tunisia. My Father loves his career. His decision was based upon the actions of the current Minister of Education [Minister Bakouche] who declared that ALL Headmasters must give up their current positions to new and younger educators, as well as sit for an exam in order to prove they were as worthy as the new and younger educators to teach in Tunisia.
This announcement was a horrible shock to Headmasters. The Minister of Education previously asked for a meeting with the Headmaster’s Representatives and assured them that there will be no change. Headmasters have spent their lives serving their country. This unilateral decision taken by the Minister, without any discussion with the people involved, was wrong and likened to the previous government Tunisia so boldly revolted. This decision affects not only the careers of the educators, the education of Tunisia, but the families where a Headmaster is the sole provider.
This is humiliating to Headmasters and caused them all to protest against this decision. The Tunisian media, or any media, did not report a single story about this grave situation. The Headmasters were not asked to speak. People of Tunisia were deprived of their jobs due to one decision made by the Ministry.
I thought of the repercussions of this rash and insensible decision:
- Father, Son or Mother left without a job, explanation or solution.
- The affect on each family
- How will the families survive?
- Where will they live?
- How will they pay for their children’s expenses?
For my Father and other headmasters with whom I spoke, it is not a question of money, it is a question of dignity. All of them worked hard to get their jobs and maintain them. Years to make sure their schools are run no less than excellent.
My Father used to wake early with all Headmasters for the Tunisian Nation Exam [Baccalaureate Exam] to make sure the conditions were good for the students that sat for such exams. I have witnessed Headmasters be sworn at by angry students simply for caring for the well being of their students, the priority of any educator.
What I am unable to comprehend is that legally, The Department of Ministry REWARDED Headmasters by depriving them of their career, placing them in a humiliating situation, and stripping them of their pride and dignity. This has not only occurred with my own Father, it has affected all headmasters of Tunisia and their families.
This is a grave abomination of human rights. specifically Workers Rights.
Headmasters have no one to speak for them, to help them defend their rights, and to defend their right to work. Most Headmasters live in houses inside the school provided by the school. What is going to happen to their families? Where are they going to live? One rash decision affects massive groups of people.
The Tunisian Media is turning their backs on this issue and Minister Bakouche is a temporary government minister until the first elections, Fall of 2011.
You may be wondering why I chose to write of this. The answer is simple. I have experienced the fear and anxiety of knowing that your Father is about to lose his job for no rational reason, and is being deprived of a basic right guaranteed to all. I am also concerned about my beloved Tunisia.
After the revolt, the first thing the Ministry does is take away jobs and mix education with politics to reach a goal that does not include the people of Tunisia. My people, great and strong Tunisian people, sparked a worldwide event. Tunisians were the people that began The Arab Spring. I see people paying for mistakes they haven’t made. That is the reason why I am making this world wide appeal.
We need help. We need the Tunisian government to cease being unfair to Tunisian Headmasters and find a solution. When the headmasters gathered in front of the Higher Education Municipality to protest civilly for days, no one was there to listen to them.
I dedicate this article to All Tunisia`s Headmasters from Bizerte to Ben Guirdan to tell them that even though the government does not care, I do, as do the people of Tunisia. A human being deserves better treatment, deserves the right to freedom of expression and the right to work. I were raised by my Father to never accept humiliation or accept to be treated in an unfair and disrespectful manner.
This man, My Father, has always been beside me in each and every decision I have chosen. Now it is time that I do something for him and the decent people like him, who sacrificed and will always sacrifice, for the well being and safety of dear Tunisia.
I am thankful to each and every one of you. I am the daughter of a headmaster. I am a Tunisian.
© Hind Houas
Tatouine, Tunisia 2011