Students at GEMS Wellington Academy Al Khail in Dubai. The new good conduct certificate required of teachers in Dubai that students are in safe hands, KHDA says. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News


Schoolteachers in Dubai will need to get a good conduct certificate from the previous country they worked in as part of requirements to be a licensed teacher in Dubai, a senior official said on Saturday.

Dr Naji Al Mahdi, chief of qualifications and awards in Dubai at Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), said the certificate will be part of requirements to obtain a teacher ‘permit’ in Dubai.

The permit in Dubai will be given by the KHDA after fulfilling, among other KHDA requirements, a federal UAE teacher licence given by the Ministry of Education, he added.

Dr Naji Al Mahdi speaks at the International and Private Schools Education Forum Middle East 2018. Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dr Al Mahdi’s comments came during the Ipsef (International and Private Schools Education Forum) Middle East 2018 on Saturday in Dubai.

‘Safe people’

Speaking during his talk on the Dubai teacher permit, he said the good conduct certificate’s requirement is part of wider measures to improve the qualifications and profile of teachers in Dubai.

“Whether a teacher or school leader who wants to work in any school in Dubai, they have to get an approval from the KHDA… and this is for a number of good reasons. One is to ensure when a teacher joins a school, they are competent enough to teach their own subject, and they are suitable enough to be in a school. We would require things like police reports [of good conduct],” Dr Al Mahdi said.

“If they are an expat, if they are working in country A or country B, and now they came here [to Dubai], we require a good conduct certificate from country B and maybe from their original country. We are trying to basically ensure for our students, our learners, that safe people are working with them. That’s very important for us.”

After his talk, he told reporters on the sidelines of Ipsef: “For new and existing teachers, even at the time of renewals [of permits], it [good conduct certificate] will be asked because it is something we want to do on-going, rather than one-off. Nowadays these certifications are available online and they just have to write to the authority. For instance, in Dubai they get them within 48 hours. So it’s not really something big to ask; it’s not a chore for people.”

He added that the certificate would be from “the country that they last worked in, basically. So, let us say, an Indian person who worked in Singapore for the last three or four years – we need to know it from Singapore, what do they say about him or her.”

Dr Al Mahdi said there are around 21,000 teachers in over 200 private schools in Dubai – one of the highest concentrations of international private schools in the world. Teachers in Dubai come from over 180 countries, bringing a myriad of teaching backgrounds with them, he added.

Teacher licence

According to figures shown during his presentation, only 10 per cent of teachers in Dubai have some kind of internationally-recognised teacher ‘licence’ or certification – most have qualifications only in their class subject.

Dr Al Mahdi said all teachers in the UAE will need a teacher licence by 2021; those in Dubai will also need a teacher permit by 2021.

In April, more than 5,200 teachers and educational leaders sat for tests as part of the first phase of the Teachers Licensing System (TLS) run by the Ministry of Education. There are 70,845 education professionals in the country, according to ministry figures.

In June 2017, more than 100 teachers from more than a dozen private schools in Dubai were among the first to receive a UAE teachers licence under a pilot roll-out of the TLS, then called the Teacher and Educational Leadership Standards (Tels) and Licensing programme.

What is the Dubai teacher permit?

All teachers in Dubai will need a teacher permit by 2021

The process begins with an appointment letter, which includes the teacher’s application

Then they need to register for the permit and submit documents

Qualifications (in class subject and the teaching profession in itself) are reviewed; language proficiency must be met (IELTS 6 for teachers teaching in the English language, for example)

Teachers undergo professional development training by authorised partner establishments

They submit a Portfolio (Reflective Statement and Principal Effectiveness Report)

They obtain the UAE Teacher Licence from the Ministry of Education

They acquire Competent Teacher Status/Teacher Permit in Dubai

What is the UAE Teacher Licence?

All teachers in the UAE will need a teacher licence by 2021

They have to register for the licensing process, which began in March with over 5,000 teachers. It is being rolled out in phases as per categories

Their profiles are created and documents are uploaded in the system

When their turn comes, they have first to take a subject specialisation test

Then they take a second and final teaching practice test

Those who fail will undergo required training and then resit the tests

Passing the tests makes them eligible for the licence

There is currently no announced fees for registering for Teacher Licensing System

More information is available on tls.moe.gov.ae

Numbers: Teachers in Dubai private schools

Around 21,000 teachers in 206 schools

81 per cent female; 19 per cent male

More than 5,800 come from India; over 3,400 are from the UK

Most teachers are in UK curriculum schools, followed by Indian curriculum schools

Only 10 per cent have some sort of international teacher licence

Wellbeing survey for Dubai private school staff announced

Dubai: Some 18,000 people working in Dubai’s private schools will next month start taking a survey about their wellbeing for the first time, a top official announced on Saturday.

Dr Abdullah Al Karam, director-general of Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority, said the survey follows the first-ever ‘Dubai Student Wellbeing Census’, which last year asked almost 65,000 students in grades 6 to 9 from 168 schools to express how they feel about their wellbeing.

The census showed 84 per cent of students consider themselves to be happy most of the time. On Saturday, Dr Al Karam said the student census will this year be expanded up to grade 12 students, and continue each year for the next five years. The census will be held in November and December.

Dr Al Karam made the announcement of the “adults at school wellbeing survey” at the annual ‘Ipsef (International and Private Schools Education Forum) Middle East 2018’ on Saturday in Dubai. It will cover principals, teachers, support staff, school investors and operators, and others.

Speaking during his keynote address at Ipsef, Dr Al Karam said: “Adults who know how important their wellbeing is will be able to improve the wellbeing of their students – that much is very clear to us. But that is not the only reason why we’re doing [the survey]. Wellbeing is important for adults at school because wellbeing is important for adults in life. It serves its own purpose.”

He added that schools today must increasingly focus on the wellbeing of students, as expected by authorities and parents, stressing that imparting quality education can no longer be the sole purpose of schools.

— F.M.