Saudi King Sacks Education Director for Deadly School Fire
Saudi King Fahd has fired Saudi Arabia's head of girls' education after 15 girls burned to death in a blaze at their school earlier this month, the official SPA news agency reported Sunday.
King Fahd ordered by decree the "retirement" of the girls' education chief Ali bin Morshed al-Morshed, SPA said.
King Fahd appointed Dr. Khidhr ibn Olayan Al-Qurashi as new deputy education minister for girls’ educational affairs, it was reported.
The decree also called for the department, which previously had virtual autonomy, to be put back under the education ministry's control and created a new post of deputy minister for girls' education, SPA reported.
Fifteen students died in the fire on March 11 while more than 50 were injured.
Addressing a Cabinet meeting last week, King Fahd promised action against those who were deemed responsible for the school tragedy. “We have set up a higher committee to investigate the incident in order to discover the exact cause of the tragedy,” the king told the ministers.
The high casualty toll has been attributed to a lack of safety precautions, but there have also been widespread reports that rescue workers and volunteers were blocked by the country's religious police.
Newspapers said the religious police of the conservative Muslim country had prevented men from trying to rescue the girls for fear of "exposing females to male strangers."
Human rights group Amnesty International called on March 18 on Saudi Arabia to take "urgent measures" to end discrimination against women following the deaths. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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