Schools across the UAE are failing to recruit enough teachers, leaving thousands of positions unfilled, according to education bosses.
Speaking to The National newspaper on the sidelines of the Education Investment Mena conference in Dubai, Victor Saad, vice president of school operator Sabis, said there is a “scarcity of good teachers” across the UAE, backing up 2013 figured by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) that government schools last year faced a shortfall of 800 teachers in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
“There is a dependence on expats across the Middle East and North Africa region and there is a challenge of finding the right teacher, and that is leading to more investment in research and development in trying to create quality teachers,” Saad said.
Dubai had 14,333 teachers last year – and is growing annually at 8.3 per cent, but there are still not enough employees to serve the 243,000 pupils enrolled in the emirate’s 169 schools.
The school population is expected to increase to 366,000 pupils across 250 schools in 2020, according to the KHDA. Already 11 news schools have opened this year.
Demand for teachers is also driving up salaries, which in turn, raises school fees.
Baber Khan, divisional manager at UK-based Worldteachers recruitment agency, said: “The salaries in the UAE for teachers go up on average by five to six percent.
“The school fees are going up as well, the teachers are benefiting but the parents are suffering.”
According to a report by consultancy firm Colliers International this week, Dubai’s rapidly growing population means it will need to invest millions in its education sector to meet demand for new schools.
"In the last decade, the private education sector has witnessed significant growth; doubling enrolment figures and introducing additional supply, which increased the competitive edge within the market. This trend is expected to continue in the near future and by 2020 Dubai will need an additional 77,000 student places, translating into 51 new schools. This will require investment of an estimated $2 billion" said Mansoor Ahmed, director of healthcare and education at Colliers International.
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