School teachers vanish before holidays begin

DUBAI — A mass absence of teachers from schools in the Umm Al Quwain Education Zone has exposed another malpractice in the country’s education system.

By Mohsen Rashid

Published: Thu 30 Jun 2005, 10:35 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:47 PM

A number of directors of education zones discovered the malpractice by school teachers who leave their duties without permission to sneak out of the country on long summer holidays, even before the official vacation period begins.

Following a thorough check of the attendance registers of teachers at various schools, the directors of the education zones discovered the mass absence of school teachers, some of them believed to have left the country more than a week before the official vacation started yesterday, thereby breaking the rules, regulations and directive of Education Minister Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, who declared Wednesday, June 29, 2005, as the beginning of the official vacation for the teaching staff of schools under his ministry.

Surprisingly, the practice is not confined to the teaching staff alone. According to Fauziya Gharib, Director of the Sharjah Education Zone, she was stunned to discover that a number of school principals also did not turn up at their offices for over a week now.

The zone discovered that a number of teachers had left the country after receiving their passports from the school administration. It was also discovered that some of these principals had started abusing the powers that the minister of education is about to give them even before the authority is officially endorsed. At the least disagreement in view, these principals unnecessarily threaten to either transfer or ‘fire’ the teachers, while on the other hand, they look on without taking necessary action as some teachers leave the country before official leave begins thereby leaving the schools in chaos.

Gharib said she will demand from all teachers, when the next academic year begins, to submit photocopies of their passports showing the exit and entry immigration stamp at the port of entry so as to expose the perpetrators. She said no letter of resumption of work would be accepted from any teacher unless he or she submits the photocopy of his/her passport as mentioned above. This measure, she pointed out, is aimed at bringing sanity in the teaching work. She said a teacher must be a role model in commitment to his job, adding that she will refer all cases of violation to the Ministry of Education for necessary action to be taken against all teachers and school principals who are not committed to their work.

She said in one of the schools, the school principal failed to go to her office under the pretext that she had been transferred to another school at a time when she is expected to be at the school to maintain sanity and order, and to show a good example to the teachers instead of encouraging them to abandon their posts.

In Umm Al Quwain, the Director of the Umm Al Quwain Educational Zone, Obeid Al Qaud, surprised the schools under his authority by demanding that they send to him the teachers’ attendance registers from the beginning of the academic term up to the last day, officially, which is Wednesday, June 29, 2005. In an attempt to cover up the irregularities, the principals of the schools under his jurisdiction sent to him by e-mail lists of the school teachers. Al Qaud rejected the procedure and insisted that the original list bearing the signatures of all the teachers be brought to his office for scrutiny. He discovered to his surprise that more than 100 teachers had been absent from school for over a week with some of them already out of the country.

Al Qaud said he had decided to take punitive action against all those who left their posts by deducting from their salaries the days they absent themselves from school. In addition to that, each will be served a warning letter not to repeat such illegal action again.

This malpractice, it is learnt is not limited to the above educational zones alone. Sources said that more than 95 per cent of the teaching staff do not go to work in the last week of the term and this is becoming a phenomenon in schools throughout the country. Instead of them going to work to maintain law and order at their various schools until the last day of the term when they receive and sign their new contract against the next academic year, most of the teachers leave their post and even travel out of the country as soon as they sign and present the contract form, which is often distributed to them more than a week before the end of the term. This is what encourages them to desert their posts and even travel out of the country even before the official vacation begins.

This practice reflects the poor internal monitoring by the Ministry of Education and lack of commitment to the ministry’s laid-down rules and regulations.

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