FNC to focus on encouraging Emiratis to become teachers

Questions will be asked on how best to encourage more Emiratis to join the teaching profession.
Ahmed Al Maamari, an Emirati teacher, with Grade 3 pupils at Al Aasimah School in Shamkha, Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National
Ahmed Al Maamari, an Emirati teacher, with Grade 3 pupils at Al Aasimah School in Shamkha, Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

ABU DHABI // Emiratis are shunning the teaching profession and a solution is needed, FNC members will tell the Minister of Education on Tuesday.

After months of studying the state of teaching at schools across the UAE the FNC will present their findings to the newly appointed minister, Hussain Al Hammadi.

Dr Mona Al Bahar (Dubai), chairwomen of the council’s seven-member education committee, has held a number of workshops and meetings with Emirati and expatriate teachers.

Conversations between teachers and the committee revealed many were depressed with low wages and perceived bad connotations to their title.

“Today we see a lot of people reluctant to become teachers,” Dr Al Bahar said. “Statistics show almost no one has enrolled to study to become a teacher in the UAE. This is something we will suffer the repercussions of in future years.”

She added that the profession in no way appeals to Emiratis, particularly considering the pension it offered retirees which was Dh10,000 — the lowest pension in the country.

“This is not enough to run a house and look after a family,” Dr Al Bahar said. “That’s why it would be more beneficial to enrol in any other job. The teaching profession is not easy and [it is] time consuming. It is the only profession where you are obliged to work outside working hours to prepare for classes.

“We are facing a huge challenge and a threat to national security. Teaching plays a big role in shaping a person.”

A number of other debates on education will take place.

Ali Al Nuaimi (Ajman) will question Mr Al Hammadi on how the ministry was supporting high achieving Emirati students.

“There are students who get high grades and they complain they don’t receive enough career or academic guidance,” he said. “Instead of keeping up their high grades, their grades are in decline over time.

“We want to know what the ministry does to support them. Particularly that we need to ensure these students are active members of society.”

He said this was crucial, at a time when the UAE aimed to lead in all fields.

“There should be a programme for them,” he said.

He will also question the minister on the English language examinations pupils needed to take for university enrolment purposes.

He said a number of centres that offered IELTS and TOEFL tests were gaining high profits from nationals who needed to resit examinations several times before passing.

During the session Mr Al Nuaimi will ask if the ministry was checking on these centres to ensure there was no financial abuse.

The question of low teacher salaries will also be debated. Sultan Al Shamsi (Ajman) will quiz the minister over salaries of not just those in public schools, but also private schools.

The Minister of environment, Dr Rashid bin Fahad, and Sultan Al Mansoori, the Minister of Economy, will also face questions.

Dr bin Fahad will respond to Hamad Al Rahoomi’s (Dubai) query on restricting Emirati fisherman to chose from one of two fishing methods and Mr Al Mansoori will answer a query on free trade.

The public session will be held at the FNC headquarters in Abu Dhabi starting at 9am.

osalem@thenational.ae

Published: December 7, 2014 04:00 AM

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