Dubai/Abu Dhabi/Fujairah: While education lies in the hands of teachers who play a vital role in a child's education, are they under-appreciated?
The cost of a child's education continues to rise by a considerable amount every year and parents have to bear the brunt. Yet in comparison, the salaries of teachers are stagnant, causing the educational system to face a shortage of teachers because nobody is interested in a profession that is not financially rewarding.
In a recent Gulf News poll, 92 per cent said the quality of education suffers if teachers are poorly paid while the remaining eight per cent said that it does not.
City Talk took to the streets and asked residents whether they think the quality of education suffers because of poorly paid teachers, and how does it affect education.
Rodel Sering, an engineer from the Philippines, 28, said: "It will have a negative effect on the education system because good teachers will leave the country in search of a better salary, and the bad teachers will be left behind and the pupils will learn less. Higher salaries should be given to teachers so that the quality of education will be higher."
Kumari Nagodavithana, a Sri Lankan homemaker, 38, said: "Most of the teachers complain because their salaries are not enough to meet the high living costs ... I don't think that it will affect the quality of education ... because teachers ... want the best for the [pupils]."
Sakina Suterwala, a pupil from India, 19, said: "If salaries are low then teachers will not have any incentive in helping pupils and in properly teaching them. There are some pupils who can take the interest in reading the material themselves but if they do not then they will have a poor quality of education."
Ramji Chaturvedi, India, father of three children and a grandfather, feels that teachers have the right to fulfil their basic needs in today's society. He said: "A teacher's peace of mind is very important; in order to teach properly they should be satisfied with their basic salaries."
Nayman Rahim, an IT graduate from UK, 25, said: "I am sure these teachers have their own children to spend on, don't they have to be able to afford their children's school fees too?
"I am aware of the poor salary conditions faced by teachers across the UAE and definitely feel that their personal problems, including receiving a low salary, will reflect on their teaching. The classroom will be affected and less time and effort will be spent on pupils. Teachers will give more attention to private tutoring and not so much to the classroom."
A public relations manager, Ali Baqr, 37, from Iraq, said: "Fees have become so expensive for parents nowadays. I feel bad for teachers who complain about low salaries because a teacher's job is vital for our children. I heard about this issue of teachers receiving the lowest salaries and feel the issue should be reconsidered ... I do not want a nervous or angry teacher letting her frustration out on my child. This issue results in teachers giving private lessons."
Trevor Kandiah, a Sri Lankan general manager, 50, said: "I am sure the low pay affects teachers poorly because they will be forced to divert some of their much needed effort and energy in pursuit of extra earnings outside school hours.
"This means they will turn up to classes with less enthusiasm unable to always inspire or, build on, academic initiative among pupils. If, on the other hand, they are paid well then they will turn up at school feeling that they are coming into a comfortable environment and that will reflect positively on their performance."
Dr Abdullah Shehab, a 39-year-old Emirati who is an assistant professor and consultant in cardiology, said: "As a university professor, I see a disparity in the earnings between what we earn and what others in similar positions earn elsewhere, which forces us to take on extra work, thus affecting our output.
"I'm not calling for everyone to be paid the same just for the sake of it, of course, there should be a return based on the efforts and performances of each teacher, but right now, many feel they're not even getting that."
Sameer Bin Mohammad, a Tunisian working in a human resource department, 36, said: "There has to be a negative impact on the output of teachers if they feel their work is not being justly rewarded, especially given the current rise in living costs ... perks [too] could make life easier such as lower rents."