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Monday, April 19, 2021

Qatar’s education council looks abroad to hire 1,500 new teachers

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For illustrative purposes only.

With translation from Heba Fahmy

To help manage teacher shortages in Qatar’s state schools, the Supreme Education Council (SEC) has announced plans to recruit 1,500 more educators, specifically from Arab countries.

The teachers who are hired are expected to be fast-tracked through immigration to fill vacancies at existing schools and take up positions in some of the 22 new schools that are set to open across Qatar in September.

Applications have so far been received from teachers in Jordan, Gaza and the West Bank, Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan and Saudi Arabia, the SEC’s director of Shared Services, Omar al-Shahwany al Hajri, said in an interview with Arabic daily newspaper Al Raya.

The new recruits will specialize in math, science and a range of other disciplines. But with only 300 teachers interviewed so far, according to al-Hajri, the SEC could be challenged to meet its target by the start of the new school year in the fall.

Fast-tracked

The education official added that special arrangements have been set up with the Medical Commission and the Ministry of Interior to speed new recruits through the mandatory health tests, fingerprinting and other procedures required of new expats so that incoming teachers can obtain their residence permits quickly.

Upon arriving, the new recruits will attend orientation sessions run by the SEC a month ahead of the beginning of the school year. Training will include sessions on understanding Qatari culture, as well as techniques on communicating with fellow staff members and pupils, al-Hajri said.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

This year’s expansion of teacher posts follows an attempt last year to bring in some 900 new educators to state schools, as the independent sector continues to struggle with issues such as a shortage of trained educators, poor discipline and some of the lowest test scores of their peers internationally.

Last year, the SEC said that Qatari teachers were also being sought. A shortage of nationals led the government ministry to consider those with less experience than their international peers.

A global index released by the OECD last week put Qatar near the bottom of 76 countries across the world based on the performance of 15-year-olds in math and science.

The SEC has attempted to address some of the issues levied at the local school system by introducing initiatives such as its teachers’ code of conduct, which was introduced last fall.

It outlines its expectations of teachers, covering topics such as communicating effectively with students, dressing modestly and working with parents.

This followed the establishment of a similar code for students, which aimed to tackle absenteeism through penalties such as barring persistent offenders from taking term and final exams.

More schools

The latest recruitment drive also comes as officials prepare nearly two dozen newly built schools to open in time for the 2015-16 academic year.

For illustrative purposes only
For illustrative purposes only

Construction is finished on 22 schools as well as 10 kindergartens that will open in September. A further 19 schools and kindergartens are being built and expected to open in September 2016, al-Harji added.

He did not say how many of these would be privately-run, versus independent (government funded). However the majority of the 15 new schools and and kindergartens that opened in September 2014 were private.

The ongoing increase on the country’s population has put significant pressure on the education system, particularly among expats who cite difficulties finding school places for their children.

Earlier this year, the SEC announced that 14 of the new schools and kindergartens opening in September would follow the Indian curriculum, to cope with demand at the existing, over-subscribed schools.

Overall, Qatar’s public works authority Ashghal previously said it is overseeing education-related construction projects totaling approximately QR3 billion, while Qatar’s 2014-15 state budget included funding to construct 85 new schools in the coming years.

Detailing the design for the new schools, al-Hajri said that the standard model, for around 700 pupils, costs QR50 million and has space for 25 classrooms, a library, theater, three science laboratories, ICT suites, an indoor air-conditioned sports hall, a cafeteria, parking and a designated bus parking lot.

They will include features to accommodate special needs pupils, such as ramps and elevators.

Thoughts?

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Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago

It takes 4-6 years of formal education to certify a teacher and then about 5 years of guided on-the-job training to get them functioning at peak performance. Then constant training, mentoring and hands on HR work is needed to keep them from leaving. When is someone at the SEC going to realize that teacher-training and development is a very long-term process?

Mr Muppet
Mr Muppet
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Yes but the previous system has worked so well in the past what could wrong doing the same only bigger and faster?

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  Mr Muppet

Good point, good point. I had never considered that…my bad.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago

“teachers’ code of conduct” … as if a code of conduct had anything to do with the qualification of a teacher! Funny.

KJD
KJD
5 years ago

Even Western countries have codes of conduct that teachers must abide by even outside of work.

Andrew
Andrew
5 years ago
Reply to  KJD

Very, very rare. More common are specific laws that prohibit employers from taking any job-related action against a worker based on that worker’s lawful conduct off the job as this would be a breach of the employee’ privacy.

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

In cases where the teacher was having an affair with a student, was say a stripper, etc, posted things on FB that violated conduct, DUIs, crimes, etc etc… it sure does happen.

Ms Muppet
Ms Muppet
5 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

A lot of employment contracts have provisions against bringing the employer into disrepute but these are usually reasonable and contestable in a legal system that generally works – at least if you have the money.

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago
Reply to  Ms Muppet

And if that doesn’t work for the employer most states are “at will” states meaning they can terminate you for little or no reason.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

But should we really be using the US as an example? They are so out of step with regards to many things education and labour (don’t even get me started on health care or policing) related that they could be seen as the extreme exception.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  KJD

Examples? I’m recall reading news articles in the past about school authorities trying to punish someone for outside of work behaviour that was perfectly legal but that the school authorities disapproved off. The school authorities got a big slap down.

KJD
KJD
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Like Canada.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  KJD

Looked it up and was shocked to see that Canada allows government funding for Catholic schools – what an abomination; they seem to be the boards that have the codes. The codes that you speak of seem different from what is being discussed here. I found nothing for standard public boards.

KJD
KJD
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Many of the provincial acts that govern education have policies in them regarding the behaviour of teachers in and out of the classroom. The provincial bodies that regulate certification also have codes of ethics that teachers must abide by in and out of the classroom.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  KJD

And this is legal? Have these laws survived court challenges? How incredibly disappointing of Canada. I assume that they have similar laws governing the behaviour of every other profession and trade? The only codes that I can find during a very very brief Google search are from unions and professional bodies – no actual laws.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago

“They will include features to accommodate special needs pupils, such as ramps and elevators.” What about teachers who are trained to deal with the requirements of special needs pupils? The building is not enough.

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago

Kind of like the rest of it. Lots of pretty buildings. No soul.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago

“A shortage of nationals led the government ministry to consider those with less experience than their international peers.” And this is called ‘resignation’, but it’s not a solution to the problem.

Al Kohol
Al Kohol
5 years ago

There are 278,000 Qatari nationals. Now assume that 40% of them are in an age where they can work. Teacher is in this world more a job for women which means you have with a 50:50 male/female ratio 20% of the population which are female in working age. That totals 55,600 people. Considering that the Economy and the government jobs are all better paid than teacher jobs there are not many locals left. This doesn’t even take into account a potential number of female nationals not working at all.

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago
Reply to  Al Kohol

But I guarantee you no one in the “west” becomes a teacher for the money. In the grand scheme of things they don’t make a lot of money. Teachers have to be more altruistic than that. You have to care about the students you teach and teaching itself and need an “improving where I live” kind of attitude. They become teachers because they want to teach and have that gift. That’s a tough sell here where the only thing that SEEMS to matter is bling and money.

Al Kohol
Al Kohol
5 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

Totally agree with you.

husam gafur
husam gafur
5 years ago

Special needs children have to recognized first by their parents who are in desperate need to special needs gudiance. They consider their child normal who actually effects (slows) the whole education process of the class. No wonder Qatar is at the bottom level of education in the world.

Michael L
Michael L
5 years ago

Yet again education all being done on the cheap … Need to follow the UAEs lead and invest in good quality schools which in the UK would cost nearly treble the budget here and well qualified and experienced teachers from South Africa, Australia, Ireland, New Zeakand . Pay peanuts….

Pete
Pete
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

They want Arabic speakers

Michael L
Michael L
5 years ago
Reply to  Pete

Same in UAE but they get the ‘western’ teachers to work alongside the Arabic staff – works well but costs money, Qatar is not yet willing to spend what it needs to on education, health, infrastructure, malls yes – school education is not a priority

mhjin
mhjin
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

Have you visited Education City. They have world class universities such as Texas A&M, Georgetown, Cornell…. They have invested heavily in higher education, though they do have to pay more attention to primary and secondary education.

Michael L
Michael L
5 years ago
Reply to  mhjin

Read my comments carefully – I specifically said school education i.e. primary and secondary, my comments do not apply to tertiary (University) education of which I have no knowledge but like you can see the investment in expensive buildings and resources.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  mhjin

World class university names, yes, but are the students getting a world class education? That is very much open for debate.

AKA
AKA
5 years ago
Reply to  mhjin

Unfortunately 11 years ago when Qatar launched the ” new School system” which consisted of the majority of subjects being taught in English, they had brought in teachers from Australia and Canada that were given back then 80,000.QR salaries a month, while locals and other foreign teachers made 6-8,000 QR only. You see why that didn’t go so well. All that money given to them, not including their accomedation and transportation which was also covered. They sat around in their offices all day and rarely moved a muscle to actually help teach staff what to do and how to teach. They were supposed to be mentoring and teaching the gulf and Arab teachers all the new technics and curriculum that was going to be enforced by the S.E.C. For the new school programs and curriculum. But it didn’t do well at all. I remember having three different jobs to do that year that were not my own which resulted in me resigning. They had put me I charge of their jobs that they were supposed to have been doing themselves.

AKA
AKA
5 years ago
Reply to  Pete

Exactly, because Arab speakers can unfortunately teach every subject. Especially when it comes to English. They teach English in Arabic. You’d have to be there to truly understand how it works.

mhjin
mhjin
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

And what makes you think teachers from the Arab world are not qualified. I grew up in the UAE and had a lot of teachers from the Arab world, in particular in math and science subjects and was accepted and graduated from one of the top engineering universities in the world and a significant part of this was the strong foundation I had in math and science thanks to those teachers. Being white skinned doesn’t automatically make you more intelligent and qualified. We live in the 21st century, time to let go of that colonial mentality.
Also you probably wouldn’t consider a black South African to be well qualified.

Michael L
Michael L
5 years ago
Reply to  mhjin

Oh dear – you are accusing me of being a racist? I think you need to tone your language down, there is no need for personal attacks. Read my comments carefully – qualifications or skin colour are not the issue, training and the ability to deliver the pedagogy required to deliver a modern curriculum is.

mhjin
mhjin
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

Well what makes you think teachers from the countries you mentioned are more qualified than those from the Arab world?

Your first comment reminds me of job listings you see in the papers: only US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa nationals. and we all know what that means.

Michael L
Michael L
5 years ago
Reply to  mhjin

Do enlighten me: what does it mean?

Mrs Muppet
Mrs Muppet
5 years ago
Reply to  mhjin

Results in international comparisons would be good indicators but then they’re probably not after teachers who teach in English.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  mhjin

As a general rule, Arab world schools perform very poorly by most international standards. Equally the pedagogical training standards of most Arab countries are very low – there are, of course, exceptions. I dare say that underlying racist assumptions are showing. What about being Australian or South African or New Zealander or whatever equates to = white skinned. I’d say that that shows a profound misunderstanding of the demographics of those countries.

mhjin
mhjin
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

If you’re going by international standards, South Africa ranked third from the bottom in the OECD’s global education ranking.

So the question is, why would a person suggest hiring teachers from that country?

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  mhjin

Same reason South Africans are hired in general – they are seen as talented – the teacher training in SA is well-adapted to other developing countries – easily lured to the ME because of the economy back in SA, compliant, and don’t speak Arabic. All very desirable traits to Qatar employers.

AKA
AKA
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Unfortunately it’s not the talent either. It’s the lower salaries they are willing to take. ELS language Center closed for many reasons, but one huge one was hiring South Africans with little or no experience because they were willing to stick with lower salaries.

Pete
Pete
5 years ago
Reply to  AKA

What nonsense. Ask any school director about the quality of teachers by nationality and South Africa will rank top or very close to the top. To understand the poor ranking of SA education you need to dig deeper. We have both the best and the worst standards depending on the school in question.

AKA
AKA
5 years ago
Reply to  Pete

I’m not statingn that South Africa’s education is better or worse by comparison, I’m stating that they look for SA teachers as they accept lower salaries than other expats. ELS back in the day along with several other private schools at present, still hire unqualified SA as well as any other nationality they can find. It just seems more SA get the jobs as they accept the lower salaries. I’ve hands on witnessed this at 5 different schools and I have friends that no more businesses and schools etc that are the same. It’s all about salaries and where they can save a buck unfortunately. But this has nothing to do with the qualified Educators out their from any culture or country. I’m simply stating what I’ve witnessed hands on.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  mhjin

Off of the top of my head…They dislike Canadians? Those were the only visas they were granted by the Qatar government? They want people who are products of certain education systems? Locals won’t work for the salaries that are offered? The market is flooded in those countries and there are excess teachers will to go to Qatar and work cheaply? They are hiring for schools here are that use curricula from those countries?

AKA
AKA
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

This is true. Most of the teachers that are Qatari and make good money don’t have a clue on how to teach. They are still living in the past and don’t want to learn new technics or skills to motivate the new generation. It’s not only read and remember. They also refuse to use a computer or accept courses on how to work certain new programs that SEC require. Instead they put the work on the new assistants or younger teachers. Some don’t even know how to browse and search the Internet and create PowerPoint etc. which is a huge MUST. The older they are they get special treatment and also get excellent marks on their reports to get higher bonuses fir the next and upcoming year. These are mostly fabricated reports I might add.

Pete
Pete
5 years ago
Reply to  mhjin

Or, have you considered they might be looking for native English speakers?

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
5 years ago

Quality! Quality! Quality???

Michael L
Michael L
5 years ago

Same in UAE but they get the ‘western’ teachers to work alongside the Arabic staff – works well but costs money, Qatar is not yet willing to spend what it needs to on education, health, infrastructure, malls yes – school education is not a priority

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

Education is the responsibility of the government, while malls are private business ventures. I don’t see it as a “Qatar chooses malls over education” thing.

Michael L
Michael L
5 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Unfortunately it is not that simple education in the Middle East is essentially a joint venture between government and the private sector, particularly as the government heavily regulates, and in some cases constricts, the private sector. My point is that Qatar is doing good things in healthcare, infrastructure and shopping and entertainment – but does not sufficiently prioritise school education. It’s a real pity and quite difficult to explain.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

I agree with you. My point is that Qatar is not a cash-strapped country that chooses to invest in malls over education. The country is so rich that after committing to so many capital-intensive projects it still has a surplus that is invested in hotels, department stores, etc. overseas. Surely if they give education higher priority and organize things properly they can have better education AND build as many shopping malls as they wish.

Michael L
Michael L
5 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

We are in complete agreement – surely a first on Doha News!

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

LOL, Shabina should delete it as we don’t want to set a bad precedent on DN 🙂

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Mabrook for reaching an understanding 🙂

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
5 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

Mashkoora ya Shabina 🙂

Mr. B
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

I was part of the Abu Dhabi project which you may be citing here. This was the UAE’s flagship education reform for its government schools, and it didn’t (and isn’t) working. The curriculum of ADEC remains hopelessly misaligned for the UAE, and the students know it. It’s mostly an exercise in wide-scale grade fraud; the genuine results are poor.

AKA
AKA
5 years ago
Reply to  Mr. B

Exactly what happened here!

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
5 years ago

Teaching Maths and Science in Arabic is a losing proposition. Teach it in English

Expat77
Expat77
5 years ago

Send.local graduates to the best western universities. In 5 to 6 yrs they can be back to teach the youngsters…locally educated people may not excel as also imported teachers..

Diego
Diego
5 years ago

Does the SEC have well trained Coordinators or teams of specialists to guide schools? I saw a number of mentions about UAE and they do have things in place.They also have schools that can apply to run special programs ( gifted) and if the schools application is successful they allocate resources.One of the offshoots to that are yearly competitions between Dubai/UAE schools where the winners are recognised.

At end of day if they bring in a lot of teachers from around the region,those teachers could still be at unease about curriculum standards,assessments, discipline and how the student population perceives them, respects them and then there is the old adage……..”what happends if I am reported on for something”?

They would also benefit from some specialized training programs to help them transition into this system and for the sake of consistency.

Just one persons opinion.

AKA
AKA
5 years ago
Reply to  Diego

They had this in place once upon a time way back when but they gave that up 3 years later after launching the “new system” 11years ago. Then just when people, parents and children were finally starting to get the hang of the new system, they reverse it and go back to full Arabic courses with a 45 to 1 hour classes in English mostly being taught by non native speakers and they taught English in Arabic. This is still a huge problem of their major mistake 3 years ago in changing the system and stepping back into the past.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

Lot’s of comments on this one, just goes to show teachers have a lot of free time….

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Reminds me of someone……………………………….

Michkey
Michkey
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Look who’s talking!!

AKA
AKA
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Not!

Critic
Critic
5 years ago

I would have thought that Syria would be in the list of countries from which to recruit teachers. There is a plethora of highly skilled teachers who are fleeing the country due to the situation there.

AKA
AKA
5 years ago

Have I got a lot to say and not enough time or space to say it in. Good luck hiring anyone! SEC is very picky upon who they hire. Too picky in fact! I can’t tell you just how many good teachers were let go for lack of papers etc. SEC seems more interested in teachers proving themselves worthy of the position by constantly having teachers conduct workshops, classroom workshops and observations that are mandatory and must be observed and graded by all the other staff members observing class during teaching hours. Imagine a classroom with 20-25 students and chairs lined up in and around the classroom for at least 10 or more teachers to observe the classroom teachers performance on how well she can teach, manage and encourage kids to participate while feeling like she’s being set up for failure and ridicule. Not to mention the kids being uncomfortable and not wanting to participate like they should. Furthermore, it’s a huge blown out of proportion demonstration that basically gas teachers competing against each other to see whose going to have the most tides and best gifts for students and fellow “guests@ and teachers observing the class.
SEC is all about constant paper work instead of really focusing on the matter at hand. We are there for the children. Their needs and benefits! NOT to prove a point to SEC on how I can spend my own out of pocket money to make the children and staff happy by bribing them with gifts. Or getting the paper work done to prove you’ve done the work. There are also way too many people in leading roles when they haven’t a clue of how to run things and what’s going on. They can’t even help and guide teachers in a correct mannor because they don’t know themselves what is needed. The last thing I need to vent is giving teachers a 45 day summer break after busting out rumps for an entire year is NOT enough! It’s totally unfair. Some summer breaks in the past weren’t even given a full 45 days vacation. Students go on summer break and teachers go to school an entire 1.5 months when no students are there. Most of the time they sit around eating and talking the entire day. Sone strict schools make the teachers give workshops the entire time or get this, clean rooms and move furniture around, decorate for the next school year, then change their minds only to have teachers the following week take all decor etc. back down and decorate yet again right before the beginning of the next scholastic year. Since teachers have to be at school a full 2 weeks before students return. It’s pointless! Most of the time teachers don’t do anything of real value and should instead be home with their own children who are out on summer break. Some take naps. They take away the internet the last week of students coming to school to insure that teachers will not be using it for their own personal gain. However, SEC still needs final reports etc. to be done and sent in. I can go on until next year! Sore subject! All because some people in other jobs and professions thought it was unfair that teachers were given 2.5 months vacation when they only were given 45 days throughout the year. Come on. That’s the only true benefit teachers get. That’s basically a thanks to us fir taking care of your kids and teaching them throughout the year. Besides, we HAVE to take our vacation then. We don’t get the privillage of choosing when and what month we’d like to take our vacation in. We’re always stuck taking our vacation in the summer when school is out.

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