Qatar blow to SA teachers

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.

5 thoughts on “Qatar blow to SA teachers

  • October 24, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    It is a shame as distance learning can be a fantastic way for people to educate themselves and become qualified for positions such as teaching.

  • September 6, 2016 at 12:46 am

    Teachers are looking to better their prospects and are drawn to the attractive offers especially by the Middle-Eastern countries. I was offered a contract by the Abu Dhabi Education Council. After tons of paperwork and forwarding the same documents time and again each time the system changed, was quite stressful and I had to pay over 4000 Rands to attest my degrees and my teacher registration together with spending an entire day at interviews and continuously being told I was successful through the process.After signing the contract offered to me by the Council and a day after being told I was good to go, I receive an email some time in April from the recruitment agency saying South African teachers are not wanted. A very biased view considering the high standard expected from these education councils. So be careful and be certain on the fine print and details when applying, and before you resign from your current job. I haven’t been able to retrieve the money for the attestation of my degrees and there seems to be no one who is accountable for anything should things go wrong.

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  • September 2, 2016 at 10:55 am

    As someone currently living in Qatar,my advice to anyone wanting to live here, DON’T ! It is probably one of the worst Middle Eastern countries to live in, the cost of living is ridiculous and there is hardly anything to do for entertainment. Coupled with the fact that the locals attitude really is pathetic towards anyone who cannot speak Arabic or who isn’t European,American or British. Getting anything done in the Government offices will be a nightmare (and u will HAVE to go more often than u would like) because NOBODY speaks English and you will probably have to pay some dodgy person to help you and there’s no guarantee u will get your monies worth. There are lots of other reasons,too many to mention! Think 10 times before considering Qatar, make it your very LAST option. Most people are too proud to admit that they are less than 3rd grade residents in this place, so don’t believe those that profess to be happy to live here. Stay away!

    • September 6, 2016 at 4:15 pm

      I have worked in Qatar for many years and l have found that it is a very dynamic young country which is developing far faster than other countries in the region. Personally l have the utmost respect for the authorities in Qatar they have for the most bent over backwards to accommodate expats who at times have no respect for the law as far their social behaviour is concerned and their attitude towards the local culture of the country.


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