Are teachers' salaries likely to rise in UAE?
Dubai - When VM first moved here in 2002, she witnessed a huge spike in salaries as the sector expanded.
When it was announced this week that the UAE government would be pumping Dh10.2 billion into the education sector in 2017, it yet again sparked the conversation surrounding teacher salaries in the country.
Although plans as to what the money will be spent on have not yet been disclosed, teachers in the country are hoping the new fund might benefit their pockets.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, British primary teacher VM said with education a "main driver for the UAE economy", teacher salaries should reflect that.
When VM first moved here in 2002, she witnessed a huge spike in salaries as the sector expanded.
"When I first came here, the salaries were really low, but then they increased rapidly over a period of a few years as the number of private schools grew."
And with school infrastructure on the up again, she said this trend should be mirrored.
As part of the UAE Cabinet's approved Dh248 billion five-year budget, 'education, community welfare, and healthcare' have been laid down as the primary focus behind the 2017 re-budgeting.
But although teachers "may get paid okay here" in relation to other countries, VM said compared to other industries in the UAE "it's insulting".
"I know many people, without even A-Levels, working in various industries who are getting three times as much as teachers do."
And she said given a teacher's "qualifications, experience and responsibility", the pay is low.
For Grade 5 English teacher TS, this is her tenth year teaching in the UAE.
"I started my teaching career here. My salary started at Dh5,500 (with no benefits) and I jumped schools until I was offered Dh9,500."
Teaching at an American school, she said her salary has now climbed to Dh10,900 after three years.
"I do manage to save some money, but that's only because my school offers me accommodation. When compared to other professions here, we are paid relatively low," she said.
Speaking at the Seventh Annual Education Conference in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi, UAE Minister of Education said teachers in the country's Capital get one of the highest salaries in the world, coming second in a study by the World Bank.
Although the local cost of living is high, benefit packages here add to the savings opportunities.
But teachers are still hopeful they'll personally gain from the new budget.
The two-day event, which was organised by the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), concluded on Wednesday.