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Monday, July 26, 2021

Why are teachers in Qatar’s public schools upset?

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A storm on Twitter has ensued concerning the rights of teachers in Qatar, but on what grounds are these complaints founded?

Over the past few days, educators have taken to Twitter to raise concerns over sick leave, and salaries in Qatar, where restrictions including distance learning have been imposed as health authorities grapple with a second Covid-19 wave.

Read also: Vaccinate or test weekly: School staff face strict new Covid-19 rules

Teachers in public schools claim that the ministry is planning to deduct salaries for leave taken due to Covid-19 reasons.

School staff at government-run institutions also upset that they are being made to go into work despite all public and private schools, pre-schools and universities adopting a “distance learning” system.

 

“All teachers of private schools teach from their homes, and some of them even teach from their home countries, and the 50% capacity rule is not forced on their schools and it is optional, why is this not implemented on our schools?” one tweet said.

However, Doha News has learnt that this is not the case in several private schools where teachers are still teaching from schools.

Complaints have also sprouted concerning leave, with rumours spreading that those who take days off due to Covid-19 exposure or infection will not be paid if working from home. Some have also bemoaned rules by Qatar’s education ministry which they claim have been enforced through “veiled threats of salary deduction”.

Arbitrary decisions, dismissive behaviour, issuing circulars that contain veiled threats of potential salary deduction,” one twitter used said, describing her perception of the situation at hand. 

Tweets have also called on the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Thani to consider the situation at hand.

As the debate continued to grow online, ministry officials quickly moved to respond to the complaints.

Education ministry official, Ali Al-Buainain dismissed the claims, saying all teachers receive full salaries and allowances for a maximum of ten days should they be required to quarantine and find themselves unable to work.

It is only after for the remaining four days of the quarantine period, when social allowances such as transport expenses are deducted. No deductions will be made from their basic salaries or their housing allowance, the official clarified.

Read also: More than 80% of teachers, school staff vaccinated: official

Qatar has vaccinated almost 100% of its education workforce and has also enforced rules on educators who refrain on receiving the vaccine. No school employees are allowed to enter school premises without showing the golden vaccination stamp on Ehteraz or providing a weekly negative Covid-19 test.

The ministry of education previously announced that employees who refrain from taking the vaccination for “unacceptable reasons” and later test positive or are in contact with a confirmed case risk no salary being paid for the entirety of the quarantine period.

On the other hand, other debates surrounding schooling and education continue to surface.

Parents with children enrolled at private schools have complained that schools have not been adjusted to reflect the fact that children have not been able to benefit from the services that the fees are designed to cover.

In fact, many parents say they have found themselves spending more on their children to accommodate for learning from home, including tablets.


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