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Sun 22 Nov 2009 07:54 AM

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Tougher checks proposed for foreign teachers

Rigorous checks needed to help protect pupils, education experts recommend.

Teachers hired from overseas could face stricter background checks if a series of proposals are adopted by the Ministry of Education.

According to a report in the National, an education committee within the Federal National Council has recommended that foreign teachers undergo a more rigorous vetting procedure when they apply for jobs in UAE schools.

Currently there are about 16,500 foreign teachers working in UAE schools. Many have been hired, often just over the telephone, without any criminal checks carried out.

Sultan Saqr al Suwaidi, head of the committee, told the paper, a list of background checks would be drawn up by the Federal Government, but that ultimately it was “up to the Ministry of Education” which proposals are implemented.

Dr George Robinson, the superintendent of the American Community School, told the paper: “It’s a good step because there is nothing in place now. There needs to be more specific guidelines that align with what is practical in the real world.”

He added, however, that the right balance had to be struck as a too aggressive or complicated vetting process could put teachers off from applying.

Nair Surendran, the vice principal at the New Indian Model School in Dubai, also welcomed the FNC’s recommendations.

“Teachers are categorised as holding very sensitive positions where their past and current behaviour must not be questioned – because of the positions of trust they hold,” he told the paper.

Teachers applying for posts in Abu Dhabi’s public schools go through a vetting process, Dr Mugheer al Khaili, the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) director general, told the paper in a written statement

“As a first step to recruiting teachers from abroad, we order criminal background checks on the state or provincial level, in addition to the federal level before the first round of interviews even occurs.”

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Sha 10 years ago

This is a good move I think as there is no quality teachers in schools in UAE. Children need specially trained people to guide them to become good citizens and adults. In other countries there is a procedure and training for teachers before they even recruited but in UAE any one can become a teacher.


Kuwait hires teachers from Algeria to teach English because they are cheap. The Government run schools are a disgrace.

abumishari 10 years ago

This must be done in order to get a qualified teacher. What is written on the CV should not be assumed correctly. There should be a background check for criminal history and a verification for qualification claims and also an evaluation exam. At the end these are the one whom are going to teach the new generation.

Nafees Ahamed 10 years ago

Good move! Let me share my experience. One day I receive a note from the school stating that the send is the “class room teacher”, instead of “Class teacher”. In English language, the former refers to the teacher of the class room where there are no pupils and the latter refers to the real meaning of a class teacher. I am still in doubt whether teachers of English language belonging to this category could differentiate the meaning between “glass of water” and “water glass”. I blame the recruitment process of teachers (in UAE). One believe that simply teaching experience for a number of years would do the job. What is required is the teachers with right skills and knowledge gained through right qualification and experience. A test should be done prior to recruitment.