Month: May 2018


Teachers Leaving ASK (updated 30-May)

This post is a running record of teachers leaving ASK. As we get new and updated information, we will make changes to this page.

High school

  • 18 teachers are departing ASK from the high school.
  • There are 47 teachers (not counting the Arabic/Religion department), so this is a turnover of 38%.

Middle School

  • 5 teachers are departing ASK from the middle school.
  • We have received word that there are 8 faculty members leaving the middle school (including 1 administrator and 7 teachers).
  • We were also told that 3 teachers are transferring, but we would like to note that we are not tracking teachers that are transferring within ASK, only teachers that are totally leaving the school. While a teacher transferring does create another position for which to hire, it also fills a position elsewhere.
  • There are 27 teachers (maybe 26, but we will use 27 for now) (non Arabic/Religion) in the middle school, so this is a turnover of 26%.

Elementary School

  • 22 teachers are departing ASK from the elementary school. We can confirm 63 (non Arabic/Religion) teachers in the elementary school, so this is a turnover of 35%.


  • 45 47 teachers are leaving ASK. (wow)
  • Wikipedia reports 183 total faculty, so this is a turnover of 25%, which is quite large. We will work to confirm the 183 number, and also to break this down versus local and foreign hire faculty as we update this page.
  • We now have the numbers of faculty, not including Arabic/Religion faculty, for each school and can more accurately reflect the total turnover rate for foreign-hire teachers. Out of 137 teachers, there are 47 leaving, which is a turnover of 34.3%


Note: We are not including Arabic or Religion teachers in our numbers. This is because these teachers report to different administrators and generally are structured totally differently from all of the other teachers at the school. The Arabic and Religion faculty stand apart from the other teachers at the school in many statistically significant ways – the biggest being that none of them are on a foreign-hire contract (that we know of). Each level of the school (elementary, middle, and high) has a different relationship between the Arabic/Religion faculty and the other faculty, and we currently don’t know how to adequately explain these relationships while reporting data.


This post addresses the following parts of our mission statement and beliefs:

  • Educate the ASK community about current events at the school.

Falsified Accreditation Reports

We have spoken with multiple members of the Collaborative Learning Committee from the 2016-2017 school year, and all have confirmed that the end-of-year report for this committee is largely false.

The committee did not meet after the initial meeting at the beginning of the year, but the chair of the committee still submitted a full report indicating that the committee not only met continuously throughout the year but that it accomplished several targets. One former committee member (from 2017-2018) reached out to us and we have confirmed the veracity of this information with two others.

We would like to see a copy of the report and to publish it on this post. If you have it, then please send it to us.

The 2017-2018 End of Year Reports were delivered on Monday May 28. Please send us copies of the reports. If you know of any falsified information, then please point it out.

How many other reports, sets of meeting minutes and dates, or other documents has the school created with intentionally false information? Please reach out to us if you can provide information about other similar behavior.


Survey 5 – Do you receive disciplinary support from administration?

We would like to use survey #5 to investigate whether teachers feel supported when needing to escalate discipline to their administrators. A lot of teachers have contacted us and mentioned that they feel their administrators don’t support them with classroom discipline. This includes questioning that implies the discipline wasn’t necessary, not following through on discipline, and many other behaviors that are generally unsupportive of teachers.

Complete the survey here.


Survey 4 (Summer Runners) Responses

In Survey 4, we asked a simple questions: How many “summer runners” do you think there will be (including current faculty that don’t return as well as new teachers that choose not to show up in the first place)?

The current average (updated daily) is:


Keep submitting responses (here) and we will keep updating daily. Once the new school year begins, we will use our sources to find the actual number.


Finding a better job (Advice from a labor attorney)

Today’s edition of the Kuwait Times includes a piece by Fajer Ahmed (e-mail), a labor attorney in Kuwait. In summary, the post offers a comparison of the practices of companies in the GCC versus companies in western countries. She suggests that there are many companies that do not follow Kuwait labor law, but that employees don’t often know how to challenge their company.

We know that ASK has had to be pushed quite hard in the past to follow labor laws properly. Some of these include:

  • Not paying the full indemnity (or any at all) of departing teachers
  • Trying to prevent teachers from moving to another school in Kuwait. They’ve been a little better about this recently, but they still stipulate in their contracts that this is forbidden, even though the practice of prohibiting transfer is illegal in Kuwait.
  • Several new moms had to push ASK to be allowed time during their day to pump milk for their babies after returning to work.

If you know of other labor law transgressions at ASK, send them to us here.

To read the full article on the Kuwait times, click here.

Fajer Ahmed is also a regular contributor on labor law in the blog Click here to see a list of all of her articles on that site.


A full interview with Wael.

This article was published by International Finance Coporation (link). We think that it would be worth your time to read the article in its entirety. We have not changed the content of the report, but we will used bold italics to add emphasis.


An IFC Reports Interview with

Mr. Wael A. Abdul Ghafoor, Owner,

American School of Kuwait (ASK), Kuwait

On the

21st February 2011

For our special report on Kuwait

Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 19.48.23

IFC REPORTS: I would like to start off by discussing Kuwait’s education system. This originates back to 1912 when the first school was opened and then in 1935 it came under state control. Education along with health are two of the main pillars of socioeconomic development and they are viewed as key performance indicators by investors. Given the recent changes in Kuwait, namely the unanimous approval of the development plan, what is your opinion on the importance of education to building human capital and developing Kuwaiti entrepreneurs to ensure that this development plan is a success?


WAEL A. ABDUL GHAFOOR: You cannot build a pillar without concrete and education is the main foundation of every country.


IFC REPORTS: Please tell us a bi about the history of the American School of Kuwait


WAEL A. ABDUL GHAFOOR: Back in 1964 there were a lot of International Oil Companies in Kuwait with many expatriate workers who wanted a school for their kids. So the parents opened the school with the help of a few Kuwaitis. At that time, they had maybe about 400 students and only a handful of Kuwaitis up until 1972. Then a privatisation law came into force which meant all companies in Kuwait had to be sponsored or owned by Kuwaitis. At that time I was in the school and the school wanted to close, so my father took over the school and funded I then took over the school in 1992.


IFC REPORTS: Please explain to us the links you have with the U.S.?


WAEL A. ABDUL GHAFOOR: We have a purely American curriculum. We are associated with the U.S. State Department and accredited by an American Accreditation firm. The U.S. Government either owns a school or associates with a school in every country over the world and here they are associated with ASK. All the big American companies are here, including the military and this is their first choice; as Americans like to come here.


IFC REPORTS: How does ASK motivate its students to develop competitively on an international basis?


WAEL A. ABDUL GHAFOOR: That goes back to the students. We have AP high school courses and a lot of students succeed in these programs and they get accepted in Ivy League schools in the U.S. 90% of our students go to American universities and colleges, and the other 10% have started to go to Kuwait because we have an American university here in Kuwait and there are other American universities in neighbouring countries like Lebanon and the Emirates. We have approximately 150 teachers from the U.S. and 95% of our academic employees are from the U.S.


IFC REPORTS: Why do you predominantly employ American teachers and what benefits does this have?


WAEL A. ABDUL GHAFOOR: We are the American School of Kuwait so we cannot have an American school with an American curriculum taught by Kuwaitis. We need to have American graduates with an American teaching certification. I have three Kuwaiti ex‐students that went to ASK, graduated and went to the U.S. to get their teaching certificate and now they are teaching here so their mentality and know‐how is all American based.


IFC REPORTS: Taking the interview to a slightly more personal level, you took over in How important is it for you to carry on the legacy of your father?


WAEL A. ABDUL GHAFOOR: It is very important. I have a special attachment to the school. I was a student once upon a time here. The school has had a nice atmosphere since the 1960s and the students do not forget each other over the years. There is a nice union of ASK graduates, and this is very important for me. If ASK is succeeding, then Wael is succeeding, and if ASK drops, then Wael drops. It is a part of me. It is not the money or the advertising.


IFC REPORTS: In terms of your management philosophy, what motivates you and how do you try to transmit this to your staff?


WAEL A. ABDUL GHAFOOR: Educators have to be real; they have to teach from their hearts. A human being is a human being, so you have good teachers and you have bad teachers. But the majority is excellent. When we invest and go to the U.S. for two to three months and recruit at fairs, we hope that the teachers are as good as what we read about them in their resumes. It is not an easy job. If one of those teachers fails us, we have to send them all the way back to the States and we have to pay them. You cannot go wrong with education – if you have one bad teacher teaching 100 students, you have to make a decision. Money is not important – you have to send them back and recruit another teacher, and this is difficult sometimes because you do not find teachers on the street, you have to go over to the States and find them.


IFC REPORTS: Are American teachers interested in coming to Kuwait?
WAEL A. ABDUL GHAFOOR: Yes they are. At the moment they have no problems, but sometimes there are political issues that scare them, like in 2003 when Iraq was liberated when Saddam was overthrown. That was difficult. We had to go outside the U.S. at that time to Australia and South Africa to find teachers from there because American teachers were told not to go to the Middle East because it was a red zone. But for the moment, it is clear.


IFC REPORTS: Given that we are publishing our report on the 19th June, Kuwait’s true Independence Day, what final message would you like to send to our American readers about the celebrations or ASK?


WAEL A. ABDUL GHAFOOR: I think we are lucky that we have good education in Kuwait, despite all the problems and improvements required. But if someone is serious about education, they can get it. We have the base for it and we definitely provide it in Kuwait in general. We hope that the Government will support us more, because without education, the Government cannot move forward.


IFC REPORTS: It has been an absolute pleasure, thank you very much.