School bars 300 students from exams owing to staff shortage

DUBAI - In a case considered the first of its kind, a principal of a girls public school in Ajman has exempted 300 students in the fourth and fifth primary classes from sitting for the Social Studies and Science final exams of the first term, justifying her decision by the fact that students did not study these subjects since they had shortage of teachers from the beginning of the academic year 2003/04.

By Mohsen Rashid

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Published: Thu 15 Jan 2004, 12:02 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:24 AM

Fatima Al Khatib, the school’s principal, took the decision on Tuesday to bar the students, based on the shortage of teaching staff for the two subjects and hence the students did not study the two subjects. According to her, she had approached the educational department to provide her with the teachers for subjects, and claimed that the ministry did not respond.

While the human resources co-ordinator of the Ajman Educational Zone claims he had the approval from the educational administration at the Ministry of Education and Youth, Mrs Al Mualla denied that any such approval had been given adding that the coordinator is being questioned about the issue.

Meanwhile, Mrs Al Mualla told Khaleej Times that the principle had no right or authority to prevent the students from sitting for their exams for any reason.

She expressed her concern for the 300 students and the consequences of such a decision and its impact on their end of term results.

Noting that students are now in a dilemma, she said that the principal should have taken written instructions from the head of the educational department to take such a decision.

"She shouldn't have acted upon verbal instructions, as the written ones would have been a strong legal back up for her when questioned," Mrs Al Mualla said.

Meanwhile, Awatef Al Omaish, Director of the Human Resources Employment Department of the Ministry of Education and Youth, disclosed to Khaleej Times, quoting supporting documents, that the last survey on the requirements of teachers, which was approved by the school principal herself and the director of the Ajman Educational Zone, revealed that there were no shortages of teachers for Science or Social Studies at the said school.

"So where did these shortages come from," Mrs Al Omaish commented.

She dismissed the claim that were was a shortage of teaching staff in the Ajman Educational Zone, pointing to the fact that the ministry had appointed six teachers for the sciences subject in Ajman last October.

"What happened is attributed to the ill distribution of teachers wherever they are needed and this is a mistake the educational zone should be held responsible for not the ministry," she stressed, citing an example of the ill distribution by saying that the Al Hassan Al Basri School had 22 Social Studies class periods, according to the time table, which was divided between two teachers with one taking 18 periods per week while the remaining four were assigned to the other teacher, while each teacher's quota should not be less than 24 periods per week.

Khaleej Timestried to contact the director of Ajman Educational Zone, but he was not available for comment all day.

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