UAE to Rely on Foreign Teachers for Next 50 Years
Plans by the United Arab Emirates to nationalize teaching jobs have proven difficult, and officials predict the country’s dependency on teachers from Arab countries will continue for the next 50 years.
Teachers from the United Arab Emirate (UAE) make up 34 percent of the teachers in the UAE. The remaining teachers come from Arab countries outside the Gulf region.
The UAE education ministry wants to increase resident teachers to 90 percent of all teachers so that dependency on non-resident teachers would decline. But the lack of interest by UAE residents in teaching jobs, which are considered “unattractive” despite government incentives for resident teachers, has complicated the ministry’s plans.
Officials at the UAE education ministry said the biggest shortage is in male resident teachers, who make up 2.8 percent of the teaching corp. About 19.7 percent of female teachers are UAE residents. According to ministry officials, the higher percentage in female teachers does not necessarily mean that resident women are more concerned with education than the men, but simply because women university graduates are encouraged to take more traditional jobs.
Teachers who come from abroad are not considered residents. They are issued work permit entries for as long as they are employed. An education field study conducted in Abu Dhabi showed that resident teachers feel a teacher’s salary and benefits are not worth the headache of the job.
Some 87 percent complained of the many responsibilities they are given and the number of classes they have to teach. For example, a geology teacher will have 18 classes with 30 students per class. That adds up to 540 tests to be corrected at least three times a semester, not to mention the homework assignments.
Ninety-six percent said overcrowded classrooms were a problem because the more students per class, the less control a teacher has on the class. The same percentage said that the non-involvement of parents in their children’s schoolwork and conduct was a problem. The study found that if the government wants to attract more resident teachers, it must work diligently to improve pay, classrooms, and incentives.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)