Warning over references to Ministry of Education in job ads for teachers

Last week, SeekTeachers International announced on businesswire.com that it had partnered with the ministry to 'help fill over 1,500 teaching vacancies'.

Hussain Al Hammadi, the Minister of Education, said:  ‘We don’t have a requirement, or a contract with any company, to hire 1,500 teachers.’ Christopher Pike / The National
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DUBAI // Overseas teacher recruitment agencies have removed references to the Ministry of Education from their job advertisements after one company was warned that the ministry had no affiliation with it.

SeekTeachers International said on June 1 it was in partnership with the ministry to “help fill over 1,500 teaching vacancies”. A revised version of that statement, stripped of any mention of the ministry, was republished on June 3.

Another teacher recruitment company, Teach Away, said last week there were 1,975 Ministry of Education teaching jobs available. After being contacted by The National, the company replaced references to the ministry with "government schools".

Teach Away now says there are 2,125 vacancies in government schools, including 1,000 just for English teachers. Hussain Al Hammadi, the Minister of Education, said his staff had asked at least one teacher recruitment company to remove any mention of the ministry from its advertisements. The minister also said the vacancy numbers were inflated.

“We don’t have a requirement, or a contract with any company, to hire 1,500 teachers. We are hiring teachers, but 1,500, this is a huge number.”

The real figure was probably closer to a third of that, he said, but he could not be specific.

“I cannot say, 200 or 300, we don’t cap it. What we do is we keep our portal open, we keep encouraging people to apply and we find the best teachers for the UAE.”

“We, or Abu Dhabi Education Council, have recruitment all the time. Even for the universities, it’s ongoing, year-round. We look all the time to interview and we select the best,” Mr Al Hammadi said.

One recruiter said companies had been told they were not allowed to say they were recruiting directly for the ministry, but should say they were working with Adveti, the Abu Dhabi government’s Vocational Education and Training Institute.

“Adveti is managing the contract on behalf of the Ministry of Education,” the recruiter said. However, a high-ranking Adveti official denied that there was a recruitment drive and referred questions to the minister.

Meanwhile, 22 foreign teachers who were offered jobs with the Abu Dhabi Education Council through one recruitment company had their offers withdrawn last week.

“This has never happened to us before,” the company said. “No real reason was given other than that Adec’s needs for teachers has been reduced.

“The assumption is that it is budgetary, and they are now hiring on a needs basis to fill specific spots rather than hiring a pool of teachers each year, as they have done previously.”

The 22 withdrawn job offers amount to about 20 per cent of the recruitment company’s Adec hires this year. Other recruiters are also thought to have had job offers withdrawn.

Adec said there was “no hiring freeze” and that it had hired 548 English-medium teachers for the 2016-2017 academic year. It did not say how many Arabic-medium teachers it had hired.

New Adec teachers have also been asked to sign a three-year contract. Before, teachers’ contracts in Abu Dhabi were for two years.

Judith Finnemore, an education adviser with Focal Point Management Consultancy, said it made sense for Adec to require teachers to commit for three years.

“They have had a lot of runners in the past,” said Mrs Finnemore, who used to work for Adec. “I expect Adec has rejected a lot of candidates because they were simply not the quality they wanted and they want to lock in those they get for three years.”

The minister, Mr Al Hammadi, said contracts for foreign teachers in government schools in Dubai and the Northern Emirates would have no fixed end date. “Now there is an open contract,” he said.