Life is about learning as it is about change. Sometimes there is resistance to change,
and other times we should embrace it with faith that it will bring positive rewards.
I embrace the learning experiences in my life. So much so, that the experience of my
expat teaching adventures in China, Saudi Arabia and Egypt drove the launch of my
recruitment firm 5 years ago. It about investing in people -- be its teachers,
administrators, schools, and students. If a school has poor management practices or is
dysfunctional in its program delivery it is to share best practices to improve efficiencies,
staff retention and service – all with a smile. Because truly, who wants to be told they
made a mistake, or was offered poor service. It is far better to build consensus for
change than to shout it out.
Sometimes, shouting it out has to happen in order to encourage change -- and may be
demand it. Today is one of those days.
The scope of discrimination in our world is disheartening as it is frightening. The lack of
opportunity to explore the world, learn of its people can inhibit opportunities within the
unknown. It is time for the world to do better.
If discrimination can be rapid in Kuwait, there is a higher probability a child now, will be
discriminated against because of the colour of their skin, or race in a decade when they
are denied access to a university; they enter the workforce and will not be offered the
job because of their culture; or may be they are on holiday and tourists step aside with
facial expressions of fear.
By having international schools, particularly those schools promoting and selling
accredited programs be it – Canadian, British, American, Australian or New Zealand they
must meet professional ethics, code of conduct, and program standards. They are role
models for our children. They are selling standards and values. They are not to
discriminate against people because colour, culture or race. Parents are buying the
service and private education, striving for a better future for their children. It makes for
an easier transition to post secondary education both in curriculum readiness and
English language skills when they land in Toronto, Halifax, Calgary, Vancouver, London,
New York, Sydney or Auckland.
Looking for a better future starts now -- in the classroom.
The Canadian Bilingual School in Kuwait does not want educated, qualified and license
teachers. “Parents want white teachers,” said Mary Eccles, the inaugural principal.
“White people are requested by the School’s management,” says the non-white
Canadian Bilingual School Coordinator, Gladson D’Sivla. Employee satisfaction is vital in
a work environment and is directly connected to program performance. Once qualified
educators were being denied access “we want Canadian”, adds D’Sivla. Canada is
multicultural. D’Silva corrects himself by adding, “The school wants European descent.”
The realization of human value is dependent on being white would have me running to
the door, however, stating ‘European descent’ when Europe is a land of immigrants
indicates the need to enter the 21st century.
Factoring a lesson on Canada’s ethnic diversity was not part of the equation either.
Canada has settlers from around the world. The diversity is in abundance in people,
language, food and faith. The very idea Canada is white in its population is as idiotic as
it is thinking white teachers been deemed more qualified than a brown, black, yellow,
white or red skinned teacher.
Canada is a country made of people all over the world. We are the second largest
landmass in the world with over 35 million people. In Ontario with over 12 million
people, 39 percent of the population is non white or the category is called with South
Asian, Chinese and Black, whereas, in Quebec with almost 8 million people, they had 24
percent of the population as non white with Black, Arab and Latin American (source:
Statistics Canada, 2011).
Business standards, education standards have to apply wherever they are being
retained or promoted. Professional code of conducts and ethical standards apply too.
We do not tolerate racism. We will not discriminate against people because of the
colour of their skin. The Canadian Bilingual School is under investigation of its program
accreditation, Middle States Association in the USA.
This is great news! Schools can be reported for poor management and discriminatory
hiring practices. Parents’ have the tools to make change happen in the classrooms.
Determine the program accreditation and research its standards. An easy Google search
will provide the information.
Even professional ethics and code of conduct with the education profession -- their
educators and administrators who have members in their home country must abide by
membership policies or they will have their membership revoked –
Ontario - https://www.oct.ca/public/complaints-and-discipline/misconduct-regulation;
British - Columbia: https://bctf.ca/ProfessionalResponsibility.aspx?id=4292;
Nova Scotia: -https://www.nstu.ca/the-nstu/about-us/about-nstu/code-of-ethics/
The code of conduct for British educators is
South African code of ethics and conduct for their educators are:
The American education profession has codes of conduct and ethics for their educators
Parents can formalize complaints.
“They didn’t want me because I am an American Somalian”, states Mohammed, New
York, and USA.
“Was it because I am Arab that I wasn’t hire?” inquires Fatima, Canadian Egyptian.
“I was so excited to teach at the school. I was devastated to learned it was the colour of
my skin, which lost me the job. I cannot change who I am, nor would I. I had to go to
the depths of my soul to find the energy to continue my employment search. Now, I am
in a better place and a school values me for who I am, and what I can offer”, adds a
South African licensed educator with a decade of teaching experience along with a
Master of Education.
These individuals are born and raised in the country of their citizenship and have far
greater value on knowledge and adaptability between eastern and western cultures.
They have the fine balance between their traditions from their parents and their
homeland but also of secular society (a society made up of all cultures).
When we travel we wish to be welcomed and not judged. We do not wish our children
to enter a world playground and have no one to laugh or play with. We do not wish to
be denied entry into a restaurant because of the colour of our skin.
People are the most important asset to business. Education is big business and a
commodity demanded in the global market. These education programs are demanded
because of these standards.
I have a moral and professional duty to stand up and encourage change where there is
discrimination in the hiring practices. K.O. Mathew, Director at Canadian Bilingual
School says, “Incompetent, unsolicited advice and a poor attitude”. Deflecting
responsibility is far easier than to address it, however there are moral and ethical duties,
which supersede weak leadership.
There should be a fair and equitable workplace and classroom under the banner of any
• Establish a parent council to strength the communication and engagement with
• Ask to be a part of the hiring process of the school’s administration.
• Review current hiring practices and if there are no practices seek help, and
develop these practices with a target to be in place by 2018/2019 school year.
• Examine the current teaching team and make an evaluation of the ethnic
diversity. Ask the administration and the owners for a response to the teacher
• Seek parental and student presentation on the School Board of Directors for to
foster positive working relationships, stronger communications, and greater
accountability. The school is to have policies and procedures in place for
accountability and transparency as outlined in their education program
This indirect approach to be a part of positive change and value children – all with a
smile to encourage positive management and employment practices. It is about
respect for people. It is about respect for our children. We need to be the leaders
aspired by our teachers, and undertake small acts to make a difference – to make our
world a better place.
Lori Ann Comeau is a career coach for the education profession, Founder
and President of Tulip Canada Inc. Career advice, teaching opportunities, management
counsel or parental engagement can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org; follow
her on twitter at @tulipcanada or LinkedIn LoriAnnComeau
The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his/her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of the website