Teachers reluctant to withdraw resignations

ABU DHABI - More than 30 teachers, who were sacked by a private school in the capital for no rhyme or reason last month, are reluctant to withdraw their resignations as advised by the officials at the Ministry of Education and Youth (MoEY).

By Anjana Sankar

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Published: Mon 31 May 2004, 9:55 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 11:33 AM

The fear of losing their end of service benefits and inviting a ban is what is making them have second thoughts about withdrawing the resignation letters.

The school management, it is alleged, threatened the teachers into tendering their resignations in a move to avoid the legal hassles of termination. As per the existing laws, the school is bound to get a prior permission from the ministry and the education zone before even sending a notice of termination to any of its teachers.

The ministry officials have cleared their stand stating that until and unless the teachers withdraw their resignations, the ministry has no right to meddle such issues. A senior official in the ministry remarked that no school can deny the basic rights of the teachers and cannot, in any way, withhold their gratuity or other benefits whether they terminate their staff or they resign willingly. Therefore, teachers should act boldly and take the ministry officials into confidence.

"We have already approached the ministry explaining the situation in which we were obliged to resign. Now the issue has come to the notice of the public through the Press. It is obvious that there has been some foul play and that the resignations have been obtained by cohersion. It is high time that ministry officials investigated the matter and brought the school authorities to book," a teacher told Khaleej Times, requesting anonymity.

As per the statement of more than a dozen teachers whom this reporter contacted, they all received their letters of appreciation along with the annual increment just 15 days before they were called to the principal's office and informed of the management's decision.

"We were asked to submit a resignation letters stating health and domestic reasons, obviously to quell any suspicion by the authorities. The resignations that had no reasons mentioned were returned and the teachers were forced to state the reasons that best suited the school's interest," said a teacher. Other teachers told Khaleej Times that the school even refused to disclose how the gratuity would be calculated and compelled them to sign, accepting a certain amount that they will receive when they leave the school at the June-end.

30 at their wits' end as jobs `dry up'

The 30 sacked teachers left high and dry by the school are finding their efforts at getting another job drawing a blank. Other educational institutions in the capital are politely turning them away on the grounds that they are going to close down for the summer holidays.

"We are being asked to return in September, when there will be new appointments. We have to leave the country before June 23, the deadline given to us by the present school," said a teacher.

"None of us have been able to find an alternative and time is running out. To make matters worse, we're finding it difficult to avail of leave to attend interviews. They cut a whole day's salary even if you take leave for just an hour. One of my colleagues who took leave to attend an interview was dumped with double duty," she added. There are couples who were both working in the same school and whose children too study there. They are sole earning members and cannot afford to lose their jobs. "After years of commitment and hard work, we are left in the lurch. We can't face our students who ask us why we were sacked," remarked a teacher.

According to many teachers, the school has a checkered history of harassing teachers, sacking them without any notice and loading them with extra work. "There have been many instances when the school has informed the teachers of their termination on the day they were to leave for their annual vacation. They have even called us up when we are back home and asked us not to return."

"If UAE has to have a quality education in the country, the authorities should tighten their control over private educational institutions and force the schools to treat the teaching community with respect and acknowledge their noble service," commented one senior teacher.

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