Adec’s Emiratisation push a success

Fifty two per cent of public school staff in the capital are Emirati. More than 1,400 nationals were hired in 2014, the most successful education Emiratisation drive to date.

ABU DHABI // The number of Emirati staff in the emirate’s public schools increased by 26 per cent last year in the most successful education Emiratisation drive to date.

It means that Emiratis now make up the majority of Abu Dhabi Education Council, or Adec, staff.

There were 1,485 new recruits last year, with Emiratis now making up 52 per cent of staff with 7,429 positions. The breakthrough arrived just nine months after Federal National Council member Dr Amal Al Qubaisi joined Adec.

The increased presence of Emiratis comes on the heels of Adec raising pay for teachers and other staff. However, the imbalance between the sexes continues, with women teachers remaining heavily in the majority.

Dr Al Qubaisi, director general of Adec, said that the Emiratisation increase was Adec’s biggest so far. “I wanted to start the new year by celebrating this achievement,” she said. “Our priority has been Emiratisation and UAE nationals.”

She added that the imbalance between male and female teachers was not unusual, with international statistics showing that 70 to 80 per cent of those employed in education were women.

Dr Natasha Ridge, executive director of the Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research, said it was typical for women to dominate the sector even in the West.

However, this meant boys had fewer role models in schools and salaries were weaker because women were seen as needing only a secondary or contributory wage.

Even so, Dr Ridge welcomed the news of an increase in the number of Emiratis.

“The hiring of more nationals can only be a good thing for the education sector and for nationals to see other nationals teaching and taking the lead in this field,” Dr Ridge said.

The majority of the new recruits are school managers and administrators.

Administrative jobs saw the highest number of recruits with 960 women and 74 men, followed by teaching positions, with 372 women and 24 men. There were 52 new female school managers, and three male.

Dr Al Qubaisi said all staff went through orientation and vigorous training, which will be an ongoing process at Adec. Tailored scholarships were also available for Emiratis wanting to advance their careers to take on managerial positions.

She said that recruitment focused on the competence of Emiratis and rejected the idea of bogus Emiratisation. She added that the number of Emiratis would also go up in future months - but not at the expense of foreign teachers.

“This achievement gives us another push to make similar and greater achievements in future years,” she said. “Yes, we have a plan for Emiratisation – we will see the number grow. Local talent is vital, as are non-locals. The exchange of expertise creates a balance. This balance will always be there. Today in education we cannot say all jobs will be for locals only.”

A problem persists, however, of a negative perception of teaching among Emiratis, and Emirati men in particular.

To combat this, Dr Al Qubaisi has announced a venture called “Teach for the sake of the UAE”, which she said she hoped would help turn around such an idea.

She said Adec has opened its doors to anyone who is qualified, and not just those with a teaching degree. It is turning its focus to graduates with degrees in science and mathematics.

“Today the person looking for a job doesn’t have to be an education graduate,” but anyone with a passion to join the education sector, she said. “Our goal is to bring locals in, particularly male.”

Rashad Bukhash, an FNC member from Dubai, was pleased to hear about the achievement.

“No doubt this is great,” he said. He called on local and federal entities to learn from Adec’s Emiratisation strategy.

“Emiratis are best to handle Emirati pupils,” he said. “Whether as teachers or administrators. They know the culture and traditions of the country. We thank Adec for this.”

Mohammed Al Dhaheri, Adec’s executive director of school operations, said Emiratisation was one of the first goals set by Dr Al Qubaisi when she joined the council in March.

He said all public school administrators were Emirati, and 75 per cent of managerial jobs were occupied by nationals.

Dr Khalid Al Abri, director of Manpower, Planning and Recruitment, said an increase in salaries announced in 2013 and a new wage ladder had helped with Emirati recruitment.

osalem@thenational.ae

Published: December 31, 2014 04:00 AM

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