Private school teachers hopeful after government pay rise

Soon after the UAE government announced salary-increase for government school teachers, there is a buzz among private school staff, who are hopeful that a similar bonus will await them.

“This is a great step by the government. It’s heartening to see that a teacher’s hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed,” said an Indian school teacher. “Ours is a thankless job, and it’s about time even the private school teachers are rewarded for their service.”

Despite being highlighted as a job that pays pittance, many still continue to work in the field. “I’ve been working as a teacher for nearly four years and I’ve never received a pay hike,” revealed another Indian school teacher. “But I’ve never considered leaving this job because this is what I like to do.”

That said, there are a few teachers who are unwilling to sit back and work for “peanuts”.

“I left my teaching job because I couldn’t afford to live with that kind of salary. And with no increment in sight, it was tough to continue,” elaborated another teacher, who is now pursuing a role in media planning.

In fact, some teachers claimed their work extended after school hours, with many putting in over 13 hours of work every day. “But we aren’t paid adequately for putting in so much effort,” added a teacher. “We end up sacrificing time away from our family but our pay cheque never balances out.”

The pay inequity is most often recorded in Asian schools, with British and American curriculum boasting of a fair pay and additional benefits.

“In our school, teachers are paid Dh2,000, irrespective of whether they are new or senior. And this amount doesn’t change at all,” added a teacher from as Asian school in Sharjah.

While the education regulatory authority Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) has approved schools to hike fees, based on the Dubai School Inspection Bureau grading, they are in no way responsible for teachers’ salary. “KHDA does not regulate private school teachers’ salaries. That is a contractual agreement between private schools and staff,” informed an official.

“The fee falls under the jurisdiction of individual schools and it is their duty to determine or chalk the fee increase,” she added.

Majority of the teachers who were approached by Emirates247 insisted that they have not received any salary increment for years now.

A teacher’s job isn’t easy, and it’s about time the authorities recognised their undisputed role in grooming the next generation.