View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Friday, June 12, 2009

Investing in Education in the Emirates

An Emirati who was completing a diploma of English language returned to his secondary school to share his success with his former teachers.

He told the school principal that he had been accepted for the UAE Police Force and when they compared salaries it was revealed that the raw police cadet would commence on a salary that was already higher than the experienced Secondary School Principal.

Money Talks
With high remuneration it is no wonder that the UAE Police Force and Army have no difficulty attracting staff into their ranks. Money speaks. But it is a serious concern when the Education Department in the UAE is unable to attract male Emiratis into the teaching profession at all its different levels.

Militarization and Education
A recent Wall Street Journal article by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum bemoaned the fact that Middle Eastern countries were spending an exorbitant amount on militarization and little in comparison on education. In seeking to redress this concern a wise investment in education will raise the salary levels of teachers so that Emiratis increasingly see teaching as a profession to which they will aspire.

Paying Peanuts or Six Figure Salaries?
It was reported recently (4 June 2009) in the New York Times, that a school is paying their teachers $125,000 a year. This is nearly twice as much as the average New York city public school teacher earns and about two and a half times as much as the national average for teacher’s salaries. They will also be eligible for bonuses, based on school-wide performance of up to $25,000 in the second year.

The jury is still out on this new experiment as to whether securing excellent teachers is the critical factor in achieving student success.

But the school has received hundreds of applications from teachers who want to work there and more applications than they can accept from pupils who want to study in this school that is making a huge investment in education.

Elissa Gootman, Next Test: Value of $125,000-a-Year Teachers, New York Times, 4 June 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Rhena Jasey, one of the teachers on the New York dream team. (Photo courtesy of Richard Perry and the New York Times at the above link).