March 19th 2012 at 2:33pm, By Dave Guerin
Bahrain Polytechnic, set up with the input of many New Zealanders, has had some major upheavals. Last week it was reported that the King had appointed a new Board of Trustees and three top officials had been sacked, according to the Gulf Daily News. The officials apparently sacked were the chief executive, operations director-general, and development and creativity director-general. The Gulf Daily News had the following details:
“We have brought in Ernst and Young to carry out audit work and it revealed huge irregularities that had to be dealt with immediately, in which we took action to have the contracts of three officials terminated,” he said. “The moment we removed those responsible, correctional measures became easier, but it is difficult to remove all those responsible at once because this takes time. …It was spending money on hospitality, gifts to staff for their newborns and New Year gestures, besides other complimentary goods distributed here and there,” he said. “There were also cases of theft and money squandering …We are looking at the manner in which contracts are being signed after discovering they violated the Tender Law, especially in information technology and communications.”
I’ve also seen an email from then-CEO John Scott (previously CE of CPIT) in mid-February where he advised staff of his resignation (although he did put it in quotes at one stage) and immediate departure. He said:
“I am aware of the negative attention the Ernst and Young and National Audit Court reports have created. I accept responsibility for the decisions made to get the Polytechnic up and running but they were made in a different context to the one the Polytechnic is in now.”
John went on to thank all those he had worked with at Bahrain Polytechnic. He felt that his departure might help improve the situation.
I’ve tried to source the various reports referred to above but have hit a brick wall, so I can’t comment on any of the allegations in the Gulf Daily News (some of which aren’t that remarkable). It’s pretty obvious that John’s departure was not amicable, but the reasons may be deeper than they appear at first look. As an example, Bahrain Polytechnic was caught up in last year’s unrest, was closed for a month and many students were expelled. A special commission later recommended that many be reinstated in its report (p.360), as did the King, but the original expulsions were supported by the Education Ministry. For another view of the Polytechnic’s approach, based upon an English language teacher’s four-part series in The Atlantic, check here and here. The stories refer to John Scott’s involvement – he was obviously in a difficult position – and John’s resignation letter also alluded to the change in environment after last year’s unrest.
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