NORTHERN EMIRATES // Teachers at government schools in Ajman will receive a pay rise for the new academic year that starts today. The Ajman Education Zone announced that salaries of government teachers would rise to Dh9,000 (US$2,450) a month this year to help them to cope with the increasing cost of living. However, education officials said they regretted they could not help private schools, where teachers' salaries had remained static at Dh2,000 a month for more than a decade. The minimum salary for teachers was set by a Ministry of Education decree in 1999 and states they should not be given less than Dh2,000 a month.
Education officials in Ajman said many private school teachers were desperate to join government schools, but the emirate's 42 state schools were unable to accommodate them. "The salary disparities in the emirate has dispelled the false myth that private schools were better than government schools and this is something even parents are realising now," said Obaid Saif al Matroushi, the head of the Ajman Education Zone.
The department could not force school owners to pay teachers more, but encouraged them to keep staff happy by increasing salaries in line with rising prices, he said. Many people had expressed concern at the low salaries teachers were paid and hoped the ministry would consider proposals to amend the law soon. Moussa Gharaib, the head of the department's private schools' section, said it was under pressure to monitor all private schools in the emirate to ensure fees were not increased illegally. "The ministerial decision is very clear that school fees should not be increased more than 30 per cent in three years and that it allows only a 10 per cent increase every year," he said. Mr Gharaib said they were also checking that private schools did not pay teachers less than Dh2,000 per month. Such irregularities were prevalent, he said, because many teachers arriving from overseas were desperate and willing to work for lower salaries.
"Teachers from poor countries could be willing to work at that salary but the problem is with all the prices increasing in the country, he or she would work under stress and this stress cannot help the students," he noted. There are 1,359 teachers in the emirate and 15,000 students at government schools - 12,500 in town schools and 2,500 in the village schools of Masafat and Manama. firstname.lastname@example.org