Adec say salaries were not increased, but pay scale changed
Abu Dhabi // Education chiefs have moved to reassure teachers in Abu Dhabi over their new pay structure.
Angry staff complained last week that they had expected a salary increase, but instead their housing allowance had simply been added to their pay.
In fact, while no pay increase had been planned, teachers will find that the flexible new salary structure brings substantial pay rises based on their performance, said Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, director general of Adec, the Abu Dhabi Education Council. Under the previous more rigid system, salary increases came only with promotion to principal or vice principal.
“What we have done is something completely new,” said Dr Al Khaili. “We devised a new system where there is a grade for every position, but every position has 10 steps.
“Every three years, we look at the teacher’s holistic performance. If they are meeting expectations then they move to another step. Each step comes with a substantial salary increase.
“We have opened the door for them to progress horizontally rather than vertically, which used to be almost impossible.
“Previously teachers would be stuck in the same grade for years. If you were recruited at one pay grade then you remained in the same grade until you were promoted to vice principal or principal.”
With almost 11,000 teachers and 254 public schools, not every high-performing teacher could be promoted, he said.
“This left teachers in a constant state of frustration.”
The new structure “gives teachers the chance to be promoted, receive a salary increase and be exactly where we need them the most – in the classroom where they are most effective. We don’t want teachers to leave their posts and go into administration.”
Dr Al Khaili said teachers were the backbone of the education system.
“None of our teachers have lost their jobs,” he said. “The previous salary structure used to have more than 16 allowances. This used to be confusing and time consuming. It was difficult to measure.”
It also meant that male teachers were earning more than women and housing allowances differed depending on marital status and region.
“Now we have merged, not removed, the allowance, and men and woman are paid equally. There is no single employee who is receiving less than what they used to get before.”
This, he said, was approved by the Executive Council. “It’s not about Adec, it’s about aligning with the policies of the government of Abu Dhabi.
“We have a new organisational structure for a new school model that goes in line with the UAE’s 2030 vision. We would like to move from depending on oil to a knowledge-based economy.”
On teaching methods, Dr Al Khaili said Adec had been saying for years that the old methodology of learning by rote was not effective.
“Memorisation will not get us where we want to be. We need a different set of skills, different curriculum and a different organisational structure,” he said.
For most teaching staff, he said, the move to the new salary arrangements was seamless.
“We simply moved them from one system to the other and from one pay structure to a newly designed one.”
Also, teachers will for the first time be compensated for master’s and PhD degrees obtained in a relevant subject.
Updated: February 16, 2014 04:00 AM