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Abu Dhabi- degree in subject you teach?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by charlieeh, May 28, 2020.

  1. charlieeh

    charlieeh New commenter


    My husband and I are interested in teaching in the UAE and have been eyeing up Abu Dhabi. However, I have just read online in a couple of places that teachers must have a degree in the subject they teach. Whilst my husband teaches physics now, he actually changed careers from engineering, and his degree and postgrad degrees are all in engineering. (He does have a Secondary PGCE in Physics though and took an SKE course). Does the engineering degree count us out of Abu Dhabi?

    Many thanks.
  2. Mitochondria1

    Mitochondria1 Occasional commenter

  3. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    When I moved to Dubai (I realise it is not AD, but is in the UAE), the school could not get a work visa for me. The reason was that my degree certificate only stated ‘Education’ and ‘Professional Studies’ as the subject. It didn’t mention anywhere what my specialist subjects were.
    I had to get references/letters from my university and also 2, long term, previous employers to confirm what my subject was and that I had taught it for a number of years (at that point, 28 years!).
    I’m not saying it will be a problem in AD, but it might be something which you want to check further.
  4. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    Also, if your real name is Charlie H (eg Charlie Harris), you might want to change it to a screen name which gives greater anonymity.
  5. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    Things have changed. The answer is a no. It's all about transcripts unless it's proven that,

    1) your university/institution no longer exist
    2) qualification was obtained 30+ years ago and certain documents we're not given.

    As for university letters. Perhaps in the education faculty it's doable. However, it would be a HUGE precedent and an absolute worry if any university (from whatever country) decide to make anyone a physist and a physicist only require a letter to become a qualified engineer and start building things.

    I guess what I'm trying to put across is, your husband may find it hard to get the Faculty Deans to sign off on this one. If he is successful, please share enough metophors to know which university would do this.
  6. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    In addition to the information I gave earlier:
    • I did not have the actual degree certificate, only a transcript certificate. I have a twin brother who did the same course, at the same time as me, in the same University. At graduation he was given transcript and degree certificate. I was only given the transcript. I guess there must have been some error in admin.
    • The awarding body (CNAA?) no longer exists and all previous records were held by Open University (not sure why). I had to write to OU for a replacement degree certificate.
    • The establishment I went to changed status from HE to University which further complicated my situation/efforts to trace records.
    • The 'letter' which I asked for/received from my University was confirmation of my subject based on records that were held of the individual units that I completed. They didn't just write it 'blind' purely on my request - that would be silly wouldn't it? As @taiyah has said, it would be a worry if they were to do this blindly.
    With all due respect to others opinions, I would still recommend that you get proper formal confirmation of your situation, perhaps from somebody working in HR in a school in the UAE/Abu Dhabi. It could well be a case for some time spent now on this, saving wasted time and opportunities in the future,
  7. charlieeh

    charlieeh New commenter

    Thanks so much. Really helpful advice. We are very hesitant about accepting a job offer without being 100% sure that our visas will be fine based on his degree.

    Do you think an agency would be able to give a definitive answer on this? If not, I suppose it would be a question we woild just put to HR of each school we consider applying to, although I'd still be a little worried!
  8. charlieeh

    charlieeh New commenter

    But actually, if we got offered a job in, say, December, I suppose we could wait until the visa paperwork gets processed before we resigned from our UK posts couldn't we (which would have to be April), so we'd be positive the engineering degree was okay by then? Or would the visa take ages to be processed...?
  9. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    I would perhaps approach an agency and maybe also an organisation like GEMS. This doesn’t mean that you would have to accept a job from them, just say you are making tentative enquiries.
    Other than this, I would just make applications regardless. Once you get to interview, this is a question you can ask the school.
    NB as you will be aware, good Physics teachers are like gold dust, so even if your husband’s degree doesn’t fit the job, the school may/will make the job title fit the degree (and then give him physics lessons to teach).
  10. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    As you may/may not know, it is a while since I worked in the UAE (I left 2016), so things may be different now. When I went, they brought me in on a tourist visa and did my work visa once I was there (took 6 months due to the problems I describe above).
    I think I recall others saying that their work visa was done a lot quicker (days/weeks). However, with COVID-19 I would think that things are very different again.
  11. markedout

    markedout Occasional commenter

    At present UAE borders are closed and even those with residence visas are struggling to get in, some have been stuck overseas for months. No new visas are being issued.

    When you join a school here, your visa is processed after arrival so you need to be absolutely sure that there won't be a problem before you accept a post.
  12. There is no real black and white yes/no answer.

    MOE (previously) government schools or vocational institutes like ADVETI do employ engineers, accountants, and teachers who retrained. For private schools in Dubai or Abu Dhabi there is a need to have a specific degree in the subject (which is a little illogical, but such is life) e.g. Physics, Chem or Biology for KS3 Science and GCSE or A level. The regulators ADEC or KHDA may also request degree transcripts to see which subjects were covered. Rules changes around 18 months ago. The Northern Emirates, like RAK or Fujairah are less well regulated so more flexible.

    Hope that helps....
    stopwatch likes this.

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