Private school teachers badly paid
The Ministry of Education is responsible for all the public and private educational institutions in the country, and is authorized to grant or abolish licenses for these institutions. The ministry is also tasked with conducting in-the-field supervision of schools and checking their performance.
Ahlam Audi, the deputy director of the Private Education Department, told the Yemen Times that in accordance with the law on private education, the ministry is not responsible for the rights of employees at these institutions, nor for any financial or criminal problems that may occur at these schools.
“The law suggests that the ministry conduct field supervision of private institutions to ensure that they are in line with the specified objectives and activities for which they have been granted licenses,” she said.
The Yemen Times visited some private schools to interview teachers about working conditions at the institutions, but many teachers refused to talk for fear of loosing their jobs.
“I am not willing to lose my job,” one teacher said, indicating that there were similar private schools to the one they taught at that had qualified staff alongside good management, that are able to deal with teachers and students fairly.
The monthly salary for a private school teacher varies according to what they teach and the school they work at. Usually the monthly salary is no more than YR 20,000 (USD 100), compared to YR 50,000 (USD 250) for those working in a public school.
The wage law sets the minimum salary for private school teachers at YR 20,000, but many teachers are paid less than that. One female teacher at a private school in Sana’a said that her monthly salary was no more than YR 17,000 (USD 85).
“There are differences between the private schools I have worked for. This school’s management is more qualified and more active and cooperative with its staff. The teacher is central in the school and they are given the right to express their opinions,” said Hilmi Sam’I, a 26-year old experienced teacher at Nebras Primary School.
“The school management is cooperative and takes into consideration the teachers’ circumstances, especially when a teacher has to be absent for an emergency. Also, the teaching staff is cooperative and covers the position of an absent teacher,” Ahmad Shattaf, a staff member and a supervisor of Shorooq Private Schools said.
He added that the administration deals properly with the problems that teachers may face from their students. The students’ parents are called in to discuss the problems and to take actions to rectify them, which does not happen in many private schools.
“The salaries are low and the teachers are not involved in training courses to improve their skills,” noted Shattaf.
Nadia Ba Sarda, a first grade teacher at Dar Al-Fikr School in Sana’a, indicated that the school management is very cooperative. She added that there is harmony and respect between the staff and the management, and that this encourages teachers to innovate and update their skills.
According to Ba Sarda, the school management allows staff to present their ideas and discuss the problems they face while teaching, so as to solve them. She added that the school provides all the necessary equipment that help students to easily understand the lessons.
On the other hand, a female teacher of Islamic studies who did not wish to give her name said, “Teaching at private schools is quite tiring and the salaries are low.” She added that “The management has always been uncooperative and does not care for the teachers’ circumstances. When a teacher takes a day’s leave for a certain reason, it deducts two days pay.”
She added that the management is only concerned with the tuition fees and other charges such as those for books, clothes, and the monthly transportation fees provided by the students. “The teacher is worthless [to the management], and has to abide by the students’ desires because they are the one’s paying,” she said.