SEC plan to hire foreign teachers draws criticism

May 12, 2014 - 2:24:55 am

DOHA: A number of Qatari teachers and Independent School operators are against the Supreme Education Council’s plans to recruit teachers from abroad, as they claim there is enough local talent. 

Many feel that since there is a huge difference between the pay packages for Qatari and non-Qatari teachers, the SEC’s idea is to economise by bringing over more foreign hands.

The starting monthly pay for a Qatari Independent School teacher is QR31,340 (for married individuals) and QR27,440 (for singles). The pay increases with seniority.

Contrast this with the pay scale of non-Qatari teachers: QR7,500 to QR12,500. According to a school operator, Aisha Shahbeek, even a fresh graduate Qatari teacher gets paid as much as a well-experienced doctor or engineer. 

Critics of the SEC’s plans to hire teachers from abroad for the next academic year say there are enough experienced Qatari and expatriate school teachers in the country who should instead be taken on board. Noora Al Hajri, who operates an Independent Elementary School for Girls, told local Arabic daily Al Raya in remarks published yesterday that it is wrong if the SEC is hiring teachers from abroad just because they would be paid less.

“This is against the state’s policy to encourage Qataris to enter the teaching profession,” she said.

“It’s okay as long as a foreign teacher is being hired because he or she is an excellent professional,” Al Hajri added. Teachers coming in from a foreign country take time to understand Qatar’s education system and its society and culture and adjust, say the critics.

There are enough retired Qatari teachers and those who left the teaching profession sometime ago when pay packages were low, said Al Hajri.

“Why go to another country to get teachers when we already have a trove of teaching talent locally,” asks Noor Al Suwaidi. “Take in expatriates. They know our culture and are familiar with our education system.”

To recall, the SEC has announced it is hiring teachers for Independent Schools for the next academic year from several Arab countries to fill up 900 vacancies. Shahbeek said the problem is that most educated Qataris preferred to take up administrative jobs since teaching entails long working hours. 

Not many Qataris want to work as teachers due to work load and the Independent Schools that have Qatari teachers are trying their best to retain them by providing incentives, said a school operator not wanting to be named. The Peninsula