Teachers express frustration with low salaries

October 3, 2011

Indian schools in Qatar do not do enough for the financial well-being of the teaching staff who remain an under-paid and over-worked group of professionals, teachers and Indian community members have said.

However, principals have distanced themselves from the controversy and blamed the fee structure for low salaries, Qatar Tribune daily reported on Monday.

“Sadly, many of my colleagues have been working for decades and their salaries have remained more-or-less the same over the years,” a teacher said. “Fifteen years ago, a colleague was drawing a salary of QR1,700 ($467). Today, he is drawing QR2,000,” the teacher who was not named by the daily said.

The school revenues should allow teachers to get better salaries, some of them said.

“Being a part of the school, we know the number of students and what fee is charged per term. If the institution cuts down its profit-margin, it can pay us a much better salary,” another teacher said.

“I am ashamed to tell you that my salary is around QR2,000 ($550) after working for around 15 years,” a teacher from Ideal Indian School said. “I cannot look for a better job here and I cannot return home to seek employment as I am now in my late 40s. Nobody is going to hire me at this age. I have no option but to continue.”

Another teacher from MES Indian School said teachers come to the Gulf region for better earnings.

“Now, teachers in India are getting a very good salary and they are no longer willing to come to the Gulf countries as the salary is low here. A decent salary will keep us involved and interested in the profession here and will attract better talent from India.”

MES Indian School Principal AP Sasidharan said that the school continues to try to pay a good salary to the staff and that another salary hike was on its way.

“We are well ahead of other Indian schools as far as staff salaries go,” he said. “But we have our own limitations too, as we charge one of the lowest tuition fees in Qatar. We charge around QR3,500 ($961) on average from a child annually, which can even be less than the monthly fees of some schools.”

Ideal Indian School Principal Ejaz Ahmad cited similar reasons for the low wages of the teaching staff and added that the new school building had put additional constraints on the management.

“We have to pay the bank loan for the school building and there is no additional revenue for the school except the fees paid by the students,” he said.

Birla Public School Principal AK Shrivastava echoed Ahmad’s words and said that the school was “doing every bit to give the best possible salary to the staff.”

“We depend solely on the fees collected from students. Only by hiking the fee will we be able to provide better salaries for the teachers. Then the parents will be upset as they have to shell out more money,” he said.

The parent community said they felt that teachers deserved better salaries and benefits and refuted the claim of the schools that their income was not good enough to pay higher salaries.

“The number of students in all Indian schools is very high,” A parent whose children study at Birla Public School said. “Three Indian schools put together have more than 20,000 students. They can surely pay their teachers far better than the present salary.”

Another parent suggested that the Indian community should take up this issue seriously.

“The Indian embassy and the community leaders should discuss the issue with school managements and find out ways to provide better facilities for the teaching staff,” she said.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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