Profile of Corruption Bulldozer Fawzi Al-Jowder: Who’s the President of National Council of Scientific Qualifications Evaluation?
2018-09-12 - 12:11 am
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Today we will talk about one of Bahrain's top education officials and his fast rise to power, Dr. Fawzi Abdulrahman Al-Jowder, Ministry's Undersecretary for Educational and Curricula Affairs and president of the National Council of Scientific Qualifications Evaluation.
Al-Jowder has put hurdles in the paths of hundreds of students outside Bahrain, and forced them back to square one leaving them with nothing but their high school diplomas. Today and after the fake diplomas scandal, he comes out to say: "It is impossible to pass any person without the proper qualifications and conditions," claiming "there are precise measures in place to inspect educational qualifications."
After the Prime Minister mentioned what he called an (investigation) of the fake diplomas case, Al-Jowder stated that "the national commission and the degree equivalency department are ready to work with all related parties both domestic and foreign to combat these fake diplomas and limit their prevalence in the educational and professional fields in the kingdom." This statement came three days after he tried to divert the scandal towards the issue of students in medical schools in China.
A Brief Summary of Al-Jowder's Career in Past 7 Years:
In 2011, after a governmental decision to stop the Bahrain Training Institute, the institute was placed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education, and mandated 4 Bahrain University academics, among them Al-Jowder, to take leadership positions in it.
Al-Jowder was supposed to head the Electricity Department as he holds a degree in Electrical Engineering and is a lecturer in the University of Bahrain, yet somehow he became the vice general manager of administration and finances.
Al-Jowder personally managed all employment termination and investigations with the institute's workers and worked hard to replace the Departments' Bahraini officials with foreign nationals.
Afterwards, he purged the institute of most of its Shia employees and replaced them. These measures were illegal and the "Monetary Supervision Office" even listed it among the Ministry's transgressions for the years 2013-2014.
Al Jowder transferred 50 of the institute's Shia employees to schools affiliated with the ministry. Afterwards, the ministry replaced them with 53 employees, most of which do not possess the necessary qualifications.
These details can be found in the "National Audit Office's" report regarding Al-Jowder's transgressions and the Ministry's responses.
Al-Jowder also cut off many of the institute's workers of their health insurance, promotions, and incentives despite the 15% pay increase for the ministry's employees in 2011.
The Sultan's Harem
Al-Jowder was also known to use his position to have affairs with other employees which sparked controversy in the institute. When he was appointed as its "director", he kept his former position as vice general manager of administration and finances and kept 5 female secretaries under his authority, 3 for the position of director and 2 for his position as vice general manager of administration and finances.
He was also a source of embarrassment for the institute's other officials. On one occasion during a work lunch, he declined to sit with the other officials and stayed alone with his female secretaries.
This was in addition to his frequent travel trips with the female employees that he would bring to the institute. On his travels to select new instructors, he would only travel with one of 2 female employees and declined to bring specialized employees. On one of these trips, Al-Jowder shocked his accompanying delegation by checking himself and his secretary into one hotel and the rest of the delegation in another.
One of these secretaries (whose name shall not be mentioned) was given power over all those whose rank was under the general manager, and was then appointed as president of curricula while using Al-Jowder's office as her workplace. Another one also used the institute's resources to travel to London to allegedly attend training workshops, but this was never proven to be true. Al-Jowder would spend hours in his office alone with one of them. In addition to these secretaries, there was a number of other female employees who worked under his authority, who were colloquially called "The Sultan's harem".
The aforementioned was on the level of ethical and behavioral corruption. However, on the level of financial corruption, it is enough to know that the institute had a 7 million BD (more than $18 and a half million) financial deposit that yields money to the institute and helps in funding it. When Al-Jowder became responsible for the financial issues as vice president for administrative and financial affairs, the deposit fell into deficit and the amount of money was withdrawn and disappeared within one year!
One of those who work in the institute says: Al-Jowder established an agriculture department in the institute placing a female employee (Pilipino national) as its head with over 1000 BD as a monthly salary, besides privileges of annual traveling tickets. The department's head has done nothing since she came, she doesn't even display anything in the agricultural exhibition.
About two days ago, something happened which shocked the employees. The minister of education issued a decision appointing Jaafar Al-Sheikh as an acting director of the institute. Al-Jowder was at that time on an (unannounced) vacation. Only two days later, the decision was withdrawn and Al-Jowder returned. Few months later, he was appointed as an undersecretary in the ministry of education after the former undersecretary Abdulla Al-Mutawa'a retired.
Just like that, Al-Jowder rose within only five years, from a lecturer in University of Bahrain to an undersecretary in the ministry and president of the National Council of Scientific Qualifications Evaluation, controlling the future of thousands of Bahrainis who graduated from European and Asian universities.
During these five years, the Bahrain Institute lost 7 million dinars guarding its treasury, and several significant departments, including accounts, purchases and human resources, were removed. Besides, a number of staff of the institute were transferred to perform minor positions, like making an accounting specialist a computer teacher in the Ministry of Education. The number of students decreased from about 1200 in 2011 and the previous years to about 600 students last year. The number is in a continuous decline, let alone the students who work in companies and register in short-term courses.
After promoting Al-Jowder to the undersecretary post. Samah Al-Ajjawi was appointed as president of the institute, who is deemed affiliated to the undersecretary Mohammed Mubarak (Undersecretary for Human Resources). To those who are unaware, there is an internecine warfare between Al-Jowder and Mubarak and the battlefield is the Bahrain Training Institute.
Al-Ajjawi came to fight her war with the "Sultan's harem and his soldiers". She referred all of them for investigation after they left their offices during office hours based on personal invitations from the (Sultan) Al-Jowder for breakfast. Al-Ajjawi didn't waste the chance and referred them to investigation for leaving their offices during work time without permission.
Even the institute's buildings weren't spared from the two undersecretaries' war. One of the small buildings was equipped to become Bahrain's vocational school, and then a war was waged between the two undersecretaries over this building. There were also two buildings when the ministry received the institute and put its hand on it in 2011, these two buildings remained out of order until the guarantee period granted by the contractor to the new building ended. After a year, a number of employees were transferred to floor 1 in one of the two buildings, whereas, the second floor was transferred to a hall for activities and events. Meanwhile, the second building remained out of order for about five years and then it was specified for a regional joint project affiliated with the ministry of education. Indeed, the institute didn't benefit from this building.
Heads of Nepotism
Al-Jowder used to go beyond the department heads and promote employees without consulting the head of departments or referring to their professional reports regarding their performance. Al-Jowder's standard was loyalty to him and nepotism.
It has become a norm to the institute's employees to see that a regular employee promoted to head of a department overnight, just like (Fatima Bahloul) who was promoted to a specialized posy by a direct decision from Al-Jowder, although she had absented herself from work for a while. However, she returned to become a head in the admission and registration department. As for Mariam Al-Thawadi, who was only a teacher in the English department became head of the quality department in a blink of an eye. There is also Palestinian national Mohammed Abu Kabir, an employee in the electricity department, who was promoted by Al-Jowder to become head of one of the departments. He is now the head of the training department in the institute.
What is graver than the losses is that the institute used to grant, until 2011, bachelor degrees from UK universities. A large number of students made use of this program and were hired in companies with good salaries. This program was suspended as soon as the ministry of education put its hand on the institute.
Critical professional programs were canceled like accounting programs. On the level of information technology, there was a joint program with Cisco, an IT giant in the Middle East. Cisco used to recognize the institute as a regional center in the Gulf and Middle East; however, this program is about to be ended.
A quick look at these few years of Al-Jowder's life clearly shows that he is a bulldozer of corruption who occupies a very significant post in the country.
We raise a question here: Why did Al-Jowder and his committee impede recognizing senior American, British and Chinese university degrees? This will be answered in another report.
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