Several private schools in the Kingdom are in deep crisis following the sudden loss of one-fourth of their teachers last month.Over 9,000 Saudi private sector teachers have left their jobs to fill vacancies in the government sector, Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper reported on Monday. A senior official at the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry said that many private schools fear losing more teachers in the near future following the recent decision of the Ministry of Education to hire 40,000 women teachers for government schools.Abdul Rahman Al-Haqabani, head of the National Committee for Private Education and Training at the council, said private schools were in a dilemma. The teachers had abandoned the schools in the middle of the academic year.Al-Haqabani urged the ministry to save the private schools from the crisis and safeguard the future of some 600,000 students. “The ministry should issue directives to these teachers to rejoin their schools and stay on until the end of the academic year in accordance with their job contracts,” he said. “School operators should get adequate time to replace the teachers.” The private sector now employs 29,000 Saudi teachers. Al-Haqabani expressed fear over the prospect of a drop in this number in the near future, when more teachers join government service, which offers attractive terms and job safety.The problem has a negative impact on the Saudization drive of private schools. It is difficult to hire experienced teachers in middle of the academic year. Those who operate private schools fear that their standard of education will decline, resulting in poor performance in annual examinations, said Al-Haqabani. Two months ago the Ministry of Civil Affairs announced the names of 9,980 Saudis to fill 7,411 vacancies of teachers and 2,569 ministerial positions at various government schools. This was after issuance of a royal decree to create 52,000 job opportunities for qualified Saudi men and women at government schools across the Kingdom.