‘Big construction firms falsely declaring workers as disabled’

Dr. Mervat Tashkandi.
Dr. Mervat Tashkandi.

Dr. Mervat Tashkandi.

Mervat Tashkandi, adviser to the Labor Minister, revealed that the ministry is working in collaboration with several ministries to issue special labor cards for people with disabilities through the “Tawafok” program.

The move has come to counter the phenomenon of major construction companies hiring able-bodied persons falsely declaring that they are disabled to reap the benefits the government has granted to companies hiring people with disabilities.

“Monitors from the ministry have recently identified the employment fraud in major companies operating in the construction sector,” Tashkandi said.

At a workshop titled “The Employment of Persons with Disabilities in the Kingdom” during the Fourth International Conference on Disability and Rehabilitation, Tashkandi said that the Ministry of Labor had addressed the problem of falsified employment.

The “Tawafok” program involves nine projects, including projects that focus on preparing facilitation services for the disabled, establishing regulations supporting employment for the disabled, issuing special identification cards from the Labor Department for employees with disabilities, and licensing companies employing persons with disabilities to create a supportive work environment.

The program also includes re-establishing measures for counting each employee with a disability as four employees, prohibiting fake employment, and evaluating work capacities of disabled employees in cooperation with the Human Resources Development Fund and specialized private institutions.

Ibrahim Abu Nayan, a researcher in the field of learning disabilities, said education services for people with learning difficulties have not been implemented in all schools yet, noting that many Saudi schools do not have specific programs for disabled students with learning difficulties.

According to the latest statistics obtained from a survey conducted in 2013 regarding learning difficulty programs in elementary schools, about 18 thousand male students with learning difficulties are being taught by 1,500 teachers through about 1,400 specialized programs.

On the other hand, some 6,890 female students with learning disabilities are being taught by 610 teachers through 677 specialized programs.

Abu Nayan stressed on the need to prepare specific teams to work on diagnosing cases of learning disabilities, and to develop the skills of teachers in public education institutions in order to work with these students and identify their areas of learning difficulties.

He urged for the development of suitable education facilities for students with special needs, as well as providing them with extra time to carry out tasks, understand questions, and take examinations. He also stressed the importance of utilizing alternative methods to evaluate the academic performance of these students.


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