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Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by JoeKeenan1974, Jun 26, 2020.
Will you make things any better by staying home?
Not sure there is all that much difference between the ME and SE Asia on this issue tbh. As others have said, you have to consult your own moral compass and consider what is in the best interests of your family. As soon as you move away from state-funded education (be that in the UK or internationally) as a teacher there is a paradigm shift. It is a question of personal choice of course. I can only speak for the ME and SE Asia, but if you do take the plunge you will see massive inequality and racial discrimination. On the whole you will also be teaching middle class, privileged pupils in these schools. If you cannot cope with parents paying for the education then international (and UK independent) schools are probably just not for you. But please, let's not kid ourselves: this is not just a ME or SE Asia issue.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - Dubai is not a country.
Some people would say that Dubai is not a city, markedout.
It is an emirate, ruled over by an emir.
They don't even pretend to be a democracy.
I can well understand the queasiness of the OP at accepting a post in a country with a reputation for human rights abuses.
But some countries have the reputation, others in which human rights are little or no better escape scrutiny. And yet others who install, support, finance, arm or otherwise facilitate regimes which abuse human rights are rarely questioned and even are held up as supporters of democracy and All That Is Good.
Don't fancy Saudi? Then not UK, US, Spain or any of the other nations which arm them either.
And being a democracy is no guarantee against foul play - not even that HR abuses won't happen on their own soil, never mind of not funding abusers elsewhere.
There are few, if any, nations who would come out clean on this.
I find it funny to see "ethics" and "middle east" in the same sentence.
Democracy is just not part of their history or culture so why would they EVER claim to be democratic?
The concept of human rights is different. Human rights are what are given to you by the ruling class and can be taken away without explanation and given back to some, without explanation. Asking for explanation results in severe punishment. That is the culture and does not require any defending, it is just the way it is.
Basic concepts of right and wrong are different. Right and wrong is very relative to your level of position in the society. That is why laws, like the one suggesting that you need a degree in your teaching subject, do not apply to all schools. Some schools have supporters who occupy very high positions.
Free speech is not allowed.
The police are allowed to arrest anybody for any reason, keep that person in jail for any length of time they deem necessary , starve and drug that person, try them in a court in a language they do not understand, beat them till they sign a piece of paper and then parade that person in front of the press as a self-confessed spy. All perfectly legal.
At least the middle east is honest about how things are. The corruption in "civilised" countries disgusts me just as much. Check out the latest favour-to-save-a-mate-40m scandal in the UK.
So go to the middle east with your eyes open. Take it or leave it.
So, where would you rather be: Dubai or London? Where do you think it would be easier to raise an issue with the police or to get some representation and recourse if a rights abuse took place?
Anybody know how the Middle East concept of representation works? The little I know is that the Sheikhs have a regular majlis where all citizens are able to attend and make demands upon them.
I wonder how that form of redress works in comparison to our norms of parliamentary representation.
I haven't felt represented by parliament for a long time.Not sure democracy is the answer to everything.
You must have seen this in a film. This is not how it works.
There is no form of redress. None. It is not part of the culture.
I lived there for 6 years near some Sheikh's palace. I worked exclusively withe Emiratis and they were quite clear on the fact that they could go and see any one of the Sheikhs a couple of times a week, should they need to. A couple of times a week, lots of people used to turn up at the palace for something or other.
I didn't inquire too closely as asking questions about the Sheikhs and politics is generally not considered "a good idea".
You seem certain of your facts MosCowBore, but you are completely wrong.
It is absolutely part of the culture, it is how it works and it still happens today.
All citizens have the right and the access to see their Sheikh at an open event. A simple google gave me this....
"Majalis run by elders, chieftains and Sheikhs are called barza, and the Majlis host is said to be ‘barez’ (prominent) when he is presiding at his Majlis. During such Majalis, the host hears complaints, demands and other issues of the people and seeks to resolves them. The atmosphere is one of constructive dialogue, defined by honesty, openness, freedom and ingenuity.
The Bedouin call these gatherings Bayt Al-She`r (house of hair), a reference to the goat-hair tents in which they are held. Barza Majalis also are called Al Marms, or Al Mayles."
This is the mechanism by which disputes are solved. Did you ever hear of an Emirati or Qatari taking a fellow citizen to court? No? That's because it was solved by representation at the Majlis.
The theme of whether or not international education 'makes a difference' is a perennial. I do not subscribe to the myth of I.B. perfection but for my privileged Diploma students in El Salvador when the signing of the peace allowed them to really engage with poor people it certainly did. The same was true of my A Levellers in Malawi where there weren't even any CAS points to be collected.
The armistice was signed in San Salvador on my elder son's twelfth birthday. I remember him in his early teens comprehensively interrogating me on the subject of exactly WHY being kind to people was important. I remember him at seventeen calmly facing down the bureaucrats who were cynically attempting to bilk our maid, their own countrywoman, of her bit of money.
My son turned 40 last January, still an activist. Of course he's my lad and I'm immensely proud of him but there were many others. And in case you may think I'm indirectly praising myself, let me state quite frankly that I was a mere careerist dragging my family around the world like so much baggage. Both my sons are vastly better parents than I ever was.
Whether or not any kind of education 'makes a difference' forty years on is a moot point. I see it more as a matter of 'you in your small corner and I in mine'.
Here is my experience.
My Emirati colleagues understood that there was a pecking order. Going to see a sheikh might be the right of every citizen, but all citizens are not equal. For example, Qatar has 3 or 4 different levels of Qatari passport. Native, married to a Qatari, cousin of a Qatari ... Your "rights" depended on what kind of passport you had. In UAE, the outcome of any dispute was largely dependent on your position in the pecking order, hence the reason that some disputes were never disputed, the outcome was a foregone conclusion and a waste of breath. I remember one in particular where a teenage Emirati lad drove his Porsche into the lexus of an Emirati colleague of mine, injuring the driver and writing the car off. The lad was drunk, the cops turned up but refused to write anything down when it became apparent the lad had an important dad. My colleague tried the "majilis" approach but was told it was a waste of time. The lad never experienced any consequence for his actions.
An American colleague in Abu Dhabi was given a ticket by a cop for a traffic offence. His offence amounted to being in his car, in a valid parking space, engine switched off when a local Emirati reversed into his stationary car. Even the bosses at my employer could not get that sorted and my colleague had to pay the hefty fine.
Foreigners have no rights whatsoever. None.
I do not subscribe to the myth of I.B. perfection but for my privileged Diploma students in El Salvador when the signing of the peace allowed them to really engage with poor people it certainly did.
The there is the other side of the coin Cap, When I was teaching in that same school and trying to persuade some of the privileged few to pay their fellow countrymen, even a small increase in wages, the reply was, 'if you pay them any more than a dollar a day they will just spend it on drink and drugs'!
Maybe I explained it poorly?
Don't take it personally. I speak as I found. It may have to do with the particular cohort. Taken all in all, that year's Higher English class were simply the best I've ever taught in 38 years in the job. Some of them were very bright, others were just exceptionally good human beings, some were both. The most important thing was their readiness to learn. Soon after the beginning of the course one girl told me that campesinos were little better than animals. A year later when she was enthusing about her CAS project I asked her if she was enjoying working with the animals. She broke down into a flood of tears and said 'How I regret saying that. I have everything. These people have nothing'. Another young woman, a Borja with a lineage back to the Italian Renaissance, said the people she was helping ought to tell her to eff off because her social class was responsible for all their problems. Then I moved to Chile where my students' parents had sold out the oldest democracy in Latin America in exchange for washing machines and spin driers.
I really think it depends upon the individual, as I have personal stories that both prove and contradict your points.
Story 1: I am driving in Dubai, an Emirati comes around a corner speeding and swerves to avoid me, crashing his car. Police turn up, rapid conversation in Arabic, I get the blame (but, thankfully, no fine but my insurance is liable). I have an Abu Dhabi number plate, so this may have an influence, in Dubai.
Story 2: My car is parked outside my apartment in Abu Dhabi. Someone parks their car on an incline without the handbrake on, car rolls and my passenger door is damaged. Police arrive and the owner turns up after about 20 minutes. He works directly for the ruling sheikh. Police don't give a toss and take down his details and cart him off to the police station. His insurance pays.
Story 3: The son of the PRO of my company (a Pakistani national) is involved in a serious accident and is in hospital for two weeks. The guilty party is an Emirati teenager driving without insurance or a licence. He is put in prison for the same period of time (Abu Dhabi law at the time). Despite his family complaining, the police refused to budge and he stays in prison.
Now, it would be a brave police officer who takes the stand against one of the really influential families...