Private school teachers go without pay for months

SHARJAH - Teachers of two private schools have not been paid their salary for the past seven months. The affected teachers told Khaleej Times that although the schools have been making promises to pay the due salaries as soon as possible, they have failed to do so.

By Mohsin Rashid

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Published: Sun 11 May 2003, 8:59 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 10:59 PM

Speaking to Khaleej Times, one of the 13 woman teachers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: "The school which was licensed 10 years ago accommodates more than 120 boy and girl students of different nationalities. The school fees range between Dh3,000 and Dh4,500 a year, but the school administration has refrained from payment of our salaries for seven months, despite the fact that our salary is a pittance and does not exceed Dh1,500," she said.

The teacher said that the school owner had justified the situation by saying that parents were not punctual in paying their children's fees. She said that teachers had verbally complained to the Private Education Section at the Ministry of Education and Youth (MoEY) about thir ordeal. "The teachers are afraid that they may lose their job if they file a written complaint," she commented.

The section's responded by suspending the school licence in June. Furthermore, it has been found that till date the school does not have an appointed principal.

On being confronted, the school owner, S. K., who is working for a national bank, did not deny the charges. "The situation may remain as it is till next September. More than 20 students have not paid their fees for one year and the school administration is unable to take action against them," he said.

He added: "The MoEY's philosophy is that parents are always right and for that reason we cannot prevent their children from attending classes until they pay their fees."

Justifying the delay, the school owner explained that there is a difference between denial and delay: "We admit that salaries are due and we do not deny them. Punctuality on part of the parents is the only solution, considering that the school is burdened with the payment of annual fees to the sponsor in addition to other financial obligations towards the authorities for the licence and other formalities." The school owner has promised to settle the salary issue when the situation permits, that is when all the students pay their fees that are due.

Ahmed Mohammed Habib, Head of the Private Education Section at Sharjah Educational Zone, said: "I have not received a written complaint duly signed by the affected teachers in respect of their overdue salary; I learned about the problem through informal channels.

"We cannot take action or investigate a complaint we have not received; especially all pay rolls received from private schools are duly signed. Above all, the section's 11 personnel oversee the 78 private schools located within the Sharjah Educational Zone. Defaulting schools are only five per cent," he added.

Mr Habib said that the section would support any teacher who would file an official complaint on payments due or gets terminated arbitrarily without valid reasons.

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