KHDA’s qualifications chief says move part of wider measures to improve teacher profile and standards

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 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.



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