Jeddah — A significant number of expatriate families is preparing to leave the Kingdom in the coming weeks after the end of final examinations of their children.
Final exams in many community schools are ending in March and the school year in private schools is ending in May-June.
For most children, born and brought up in the Kingdom, saying goodbye to the country they consider their home is a tough call.
It is psychologically and emotionally draining for these children who are often found discussing among themselves the trauma of leaving Saudi Arabia.
“Nearly half of my class friends are saying that they will leave after the exams,” said Areeba Ahmed, an Indian student of grade 3 in a local school.
The imposition of dependent’s fee is the prime reason for most families to leave the Kingdom for good.
Private and community schools in the Kingdom are set to witness an exodus of students after the examinations.
“In some classes more than half of the pupils have informed that they are leaving the Kingdom,” said an official of a leading school in Jeddah.
Some schools are asking parents about the number of children who will continue classes and how many wish to leave.
“We are required to ascertain the strength of students for logistical reasons,” said a source in another leading school which is paying a huge rent for its premises.
The shrinking enrolment and increase in operational cost is impacting the very existence of many private schools.
Some schools are demanding a lump sum amount instead of monthly fee while others are offering incentives to stop children from quitting the school.
The enforcement of new building rules and the increased Ajeer fee are other factors that have affected many private schools.
“I have spent a wonderful time with my family in Kingdom. It is now time to send them back as I am not able to bear the dependent’s fee,” said Mohammed Nazeer, an Indian hailing from Hyderabad in Telangana.