Distance learning qualifications, including from Unisa, no longer accepted for employment
South African teachers with qualifications from distance learning institutions such as Unisa and web universities are no longer allowed to work in Qatar.
The Qatar education department changed the rules in June, saying these qualifications would not be formally certified. It has not provided reasons for the decision.
About 500 teachers are believed to be working in the Middle East, however it is not known how many South African teachers work in Qatar specifically.
“Educational documents obtained from distance learning institutes-open school universities and web universities will not be attested,” the department said.
Candice Dutton, a South African who taught at Al Khor International School in Doha from 2008 until her return to Durban last year, has been denied a family visa as a result of her Unisa qualification.
Yesterday, her father, Robin Reed, said his daughter had secured a position at a school in Doha but her family visa could not be approved as the Qatar education department had declined to verify or accept her advanced certificate in education from Unisa.
However, her diploma in senior primary school education from the South Africa College for Teacher Education was accepted.
Doc Assist, which helps South Africans with documents they need for visa purposes, said it was a very stressful time for clients affected by the ruling.
“I have been in contact with the Embassy of Qatar weekly, but the status has remained unchanged and we have had clients who have lost their job offers in Qatar as a result,” Doc Assist owner Machelle Munro said.
“They have had to apply in other countries such as Oman and the UAE [United Arab Emirates] to find alternative employment.
“We even have a husband and wife team who both had job offers from Qatar but because of this ruling the husband’s qualifications from a full-time university in South Africa have been attested but the wife has now lost her job in Qatar as her qualification is from Unisa.”
On July 14, when submitting Unisa qualifications to the embassy, Doc Assist was informed that there was “an issue with accepting any distance-correspondence qualifications from South African institutions – including Unisa”.
“At that stage we had numerous clients who were affected by this ruling as their documents were rejected by the embassy, stating that we need to wait to see if the department of education in Qatar would change this ruling.
“Our understanding from the embassy at this point is that the Qatar department of education is in consultation with Unisa to see if they will once again accept the qualifications,” Munro said.
Unisa spokesman Martin Ramotshela confirmed the university had recently been made aware of the matter.
“We are working on establishing the facts and we will be able to provide a comprehensive response once we have completed our investigation, including what interventions we will make, if necessary,” he said.