UAE fights coronavirus: Sharjah to penalise private schools for sacking teachers

 

uae schools, coronavirus in uae , covid19 in uae

Sharjah - Some teachers were sacked, forced to go on paid leave or made to sign documents reducing their salaries, an official said.

by

Afkar Ali Ahmed

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Published: Thu 16 Apr 2020, 3:13 PM

Last updated: Sat 18 Apr 2020, 10:21 AM

Strict penalties, including revoking of licences, will be taken against school managements that are sacking teachers, slashing salaries or forcing them to go on unpaid leave without their consent, the Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA) has warned.
The authority has sent a circular to all private schools in the emirate after receiving a number of complaints from teachers in this regard. Some of the teachers were sacked, forced to go on paid leave or made to sign documents reducing their salaries by 50 per cent, including allowances, according to an SPEA official.
"SPEA will not accept any applications changing teaching staff remuneration - terminating services, reducing salaries etc - without written consent, along with an alternative plan in place. We will also not allow increasing the teachers' quorum of classes or decreasing the number of classes offered to students," he said.
"We are also working on a mechanism to ensure quality education and will not allow increasing class density during distance learning. The decision is part of continuing high quality learning through remote learning, which has been put in place as a precautionary measure to contain the coronavirus (Covid-19).
"We are closely monitoring all schools and tough penalties will be faced by schools if the quality of education is affected. Any action against teachers without the prior approval from the SPEA will be called for stricter penalties.
"If schools have already terminated teachers or reduced wages, they are required to notify the SPEA and ensure the distance learning programme is not affected," he added.
Teachers speak
An Arabic teacher at a private school in Sharjah Umaima H told Khaleej Times that her salary has been slashed by 20 per cent and five classes for grade 1 have been consolidated into a single session. "I used to teach three classes of 15 students each. With all kids now in a single session, it is hard to get their attention. All I do now is take attendance and repeat to them to focus," she said.
Rhubarb, Q, another teacher at a private school offering American curriculum, said she was laid off as the school retained only four teachers to teach social studies. "The school now has only one session per week for all grades."
Mariam Al Basti, a math teacher at an Arabic private school, said that she was terminated after nine years of service.  "Last week, I received a letter of termination from school without citing any reason. The SPEA decision will hopefully support us and we will be able to return to our classes or receive full right from the school management."
Meanwhile, a representative from a private school said they had to terminate the services of a few teachers before the SPEA decision due to the lack of funds to continue paying their wages. "Many parents have refrained from paying their dues for the second and last term, and therefore, it is difficult to pay all staff. We reduced the number of teachers for certain subjects, where the position can be filled with a minimum number of teachers," he said.
afkarali@khaleejtimes.com


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