Teachers' pay should be revised to make the job more attractive, especially for Emiratis, a top education official said yesterday.
For now, many Emiratis, particularly men, are reluctant to enter the teaching profession mainly due to the low salaries on offer.
"Teaching is a hard job. It is not attractive to many since the salary is somewhat lower compared to other government jobs, especially when you take the amount of work into consideration," Dr Ahmad Al Mansouri, Director of Dubai Education Zone, told Gulf News.
"Only less than 5 per cent of teachers in public schools are Emiratis, which is a dangerous trend that could lead to erosion of Emirati cultural values," he said. He noted that the government should consider raising the salary of teachers in public schools in order to change this situation.
Lack of teachers is an issue in Dubai's public schools, similar to other education zones across the UAE, he said.
In Dubai, 99 per cent of teaching job positions have been filled already, and there is a deficit of about 20 teachers more. In kindergarten, about 95 per cent of positions have been filled, and about 35 more teachers are needed, Al Mansouri said. There is a shortage of teachers in subjects including English, Science, Sports and Arabic.
Hind Lootah, principal at Al Sa'ada Primary School, said there is less number of Emirati men in teaching jobs now because of the low salary. "But there are a large number of Emirati women working as teachers because in our tradition and culture this income is considered supplementary to the family income."
Meanwhile, the Dubai Education Zone yesterday urged public schools to take part more vigorously in excellence awards such as the Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performance and the Khalifa Award for Education.
"Public schools must participate more energetically in these awards and surpass last years' achievements," Al Mansouri said, addressing a gathering of principals of public schools, organised by the education zone at the Nad Al Hammar public school yesterday.
At the 13 th edition of the Shaikh Hamdan Awards last year, Dubai topped with 47 honoured in the distinguished student category.
There were 93 entries in all categories from Dubai, which was 27 per cent of the total entries from all education zones, a 12 per cent increase over the year before. Dubai also won the distinguished social worker prize, in addition to winning two of seven prizes in the distinguished teacher category, and the award for distinguished school administration.