Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 August 2019

FNC discusses challenges facing teaching sector

Federal National Council member Ayesha bin Samnoh says more than 1,000 disenchanted teachers have resigned in the past three years

FNC member Ayesha bin Samnoh said teachers in the UAE are increasingly disillusionised. Chris Whiteoak / The National
FNC member Ayesha bin Samnoh said teachers in the UAE are increasingly disillusionised. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Public school teachers in the UAE feel demotivated and overworked and can't wait to retire, an FNC member said.

An increasing workload and a lack of career development has led to frustration among the profession, Ayesha bin Samnoh told an FNC meeting on Wednesday.

Ms bin Samnoh told the Minister of State for Public Education, Jameela Al Muhairi, that she had received a flood of calls from disgruntled public school teachers.

A teacher today has no road map and feels insecure. They have no goals. They have big burdens.

Ayesha bin Samnoh, FNC member

She told the meeting that more than 1,000 public school teachers have resigned from their posts in the past three years.

“A teacher today has no road map and feels insecure. They have no goals,” Ms bin Samnoh said.

“They have big burdens and no assistant teachers. In developed countries there is always an assistant teacher.

“Teachers are always asking when the new retirement law will come out, so all they care about now is when they can retire.”

She said teachers were also upset about a lack of opportunities for promotion and would like to have a bigger say in how the curriculum is shaped.

“In the past they had a say in the curriculum, they were consulted through surveys," Ms bin Samnoh said.

“So I want to know from the minister, what is the future plan for teachers and will there be a career ladder to provide them with job security?”

Ms Al Muhairi said the ministry was keen on motivating teachers and that 3,000 were given promotions last year.

“We spent Dh35 million on the promotions and they were not even included in our budget, but we did it anyway because it is the ministry’s duty,” she said.

Ms Al Muhairi said a career path plan was being developed for teachers, details of which are to be announced soon.

Dr Ameena Al Majed, a former Abu Dhabi school principal, said she was not optimistic that brighter times lay ahead for teachers.

“We have been hearing this diplomatic talk for more than 20 years and we never saw any of it come to life,” Dr Al Majed said.

In any Gulf country, teachers don’t have a status, and they lack motivation. Therefore you don’t find any students enrolling in education majors, nobody wants to become a teacher.

Dr Ameena Al Majed

She said she had been working in the education field for 33 years and told the meeting that teachers did lack a clear career path.

“If you are a teacher you will stay a teacher your whole life," Dr Al Majed said. "Even your grade doesn’t change.”

But she said the problem was not unique to the UAE.

“In any Gulf country, teachers don’t have a status and they lack motivation," Dr Al Majed said. "Therefore you don’t find any students enrolling in education majors. Nobody wants to become a teacher.”

She said teacher disenchantment had prompted the ministry to recruit from abroad. Part of that disenchantment was from their heavy workloads.

“The teacher not only teaches for eight hours, but they also have to prepare and correct, and they use their weekend to strengthen weak pupils for free," Dr Al Majed said.

“I assure you, once they fix the retirement package for teachers hundreds will immediately retire.”

Updated: May 2, 2019 07:26 PM

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