I think by now most of us have heard the argument from teachers that protest fee reductions. Of course, we are all in this together and as an empathetic human (with a background in teaching) I would not ask for teachers to throw themselves into a new challenge, where adapting undoubtedly means extra work, without the reassurance that they are still being paid. I am also not about to use the argument that I’m having to put extra work into rearing my own kids, I do not need compensation for that.
But here is another pro-teacher reflection: Have you ever tried to put a scheme of work together? Have you ever tried to adapt that said scheme of work to distance learning? No? And I don’t want to either! So, I do thank schools for putting that in my lap and facilitating me in the comfort of my home! I also do understand the teacher’s stance, they are emphatically fighting fee reduction because in an expat world cuts in the workforce mean they are expendable, even if that stance is at our- the parent’s — expense.
I am not trying to defend arguments put forward by parents lamenting on having to cope with their own child’s learning, and there are many! My issue is with the business side of schools here in Doha, and here’s the truth, the bombshell that dropped on me and my husband when schools were made closed and shortly after we received a very mechanical email instructing us that full payment for fees was due, and no discounts will be applied despite school closure. Which led us to question, that either the entire fee goes to the teachers or someone is profiting from this on the side.
You see, I thought the extortionate fees we were paying for our child’s private schooling was for a well-rounded education including pastoral care, school equipment, the facilities on-site, maintenance of said facilities, free extra-curricular activities, etc. The reality of it is, I could have just invested in a Carrefour laser printer and private online tutors before the pandemic! What also stings is our counterparts in the UK, HAVE been given a fee reduction, and they still have some extracurriculars running virtually, cookery being one of them, at least that way one of the dinners could have been off my hands!
If only there was some transparency as to where school fees are actually going, and with this comes another frustration. Why have schools not openly discussed this with us? Though when we attempt to raise the issue, it is only to be met with robotic threats to pay up or risk having our child withdrawn! Is this arrogance a private institute’s entitlement? Is it fair that whilst we make allowances for the school’s mediocre quality of distance learning, the school can behave autocratic?
Now I am putting it all on the table, I think the resentment is because I have sat in on this very privileged education and realized the quality of teaching does fall short. There I said it! When I compare quality of teaching between schools, and I’ve seen some fantastic teaching styles from one non-profit (and cheaper!) school, the other leaves me feeling like I’ve been cheated. The only thing keeping my child’s attainment up is a good attitude to learning and my support. I can only imagine then how frustrated a parent may feel if they don’t have those two components getting them through the school day. Where is the empathy for parents then, because we’re all in this together, right?
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and not Doha News.
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