x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Fees go up but UAE teachers' pay may not follow

Although some tuition fees have increased in schools across the emirates, not all teachers have felt the trickle-down effect.

South African Caricka Botha, a teacher at the Al Diyafah International School in Mohamed bin Zayed City. Silvia Razgova / The National
South African Caricka Botha, a teacher at the Al Diyafah International School in Mohamed bin Zayed City. Silvia Razgova / The National

ABU DHABI // Many schools have increased tuition fees but not all teachers have seen the benefit in their paypackets.

Caricka Botha, a South African expatriate who has been teaching in the UAE for a year, has joined the staff of the new Al Diyafah International School in Abu Dhabi, where she will teach Foundation Stage 2.

"The wages stayed the same but the benefits are better," she said. "Every school differs but I was in Australia, Singapore and Africa and the wages aren't very good for teachers here.

"I get half of what I got as a teacher in Australia. For me, it's not good, but it depends from school to school and your qualifications. The circumstances for working here are really nice, though, and I'm really enjoying it."

Her children are pupils at the British International School, where she says tuition fees are high.

"But my husband works for Etihad and they get discounts from the British School, so it helps," she said.

Smitha Kodoth, a former special-needs teacher at the Pristine Private School in Dubai, agreed about the salary.

"Teachers' wages are considered by schools as a lot but, of course, they're not enough," said Ms Kodoth, who worked at the school for three years.

"Every year, we received Dh100 to Dh200 in increments. It increased from Dh100 to Dh200 in my third year."

She said salaries should increase when tuition fees did.

"As a teacher, you get a lot of after-school work," she said. "We don't really concentrate on the students alone, we need to concentrate on other work like the parents, too."

Ms Kodoth said teachers deserved higher pay for doing work outside the classroom.

"I feel like teachers are wasting their time on doing other work and they're not getting the time to teach the children and not personally developing their skills," she said.

"They deserve more for what they are doing."

Although it varies, tuition fees rise by about 10 per cent each year.

"The money is definitely not going towards the teachers though," Ms Kodoth said.

Others, however, said they were fairly compensated and some reported pay increases.

"My wages have gone up," said Richard Zulueta, an activity coordinator at the Philippine School in Dubai, which is regulated by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority. "It's all based on years of service."

He has received a pay rise each of the five years he has worked there.

Aisha Hammadi, an English teacher at Sharjah Model School, has also had a rise in pay the past few years.

"My wages are good," she said. "After each four years, we receive an increase."

Ms Hammadi, who has worked at the school for eight years, said most state-school teachers in Sharjah, Dubai and Ajman received the same amount.

"Tuition fees have also increased," she said. "But I'm satisfied with the current wages I receive."

cmalek@thenational.ae