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Buraimi & ITES - ELS Learn from my mistakes!
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packroyd



Joined: 15 Apr 2009
Posts: 6
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:56 pm    Post subject: Buraimi & ITES - ELS Learn from my mistakes! Reply with quote

Mistake 1] I believed the recruiting agent when I was told the ITES - University of Buraimi vacancy I was offered was "immediate". I acted accordingly by giving notice to my employers.

Mistake 2] I believed it when I was told that "approval" was a semi-automatic process that would be granted within a week of the job offer, rather than used as an excuse for covering up incompetence, procrastination and dishonoring of promises.

Mistake 3] I believed that being appointed as a "Director" would lead to being treated with a modicum of respect and honour.

Lesson 1] NEVER even start making preparations to leave your present job till the e-ticket arrives!

Lesson 2] Remember that the people who contact you may themselves be decent but are likely to be puppets of others who have "whims of iron" when they yank the financial strings.

Lesson 3] Sweet talk is just that....

I hope I have now cooled down enough to make an attempt at objectively reviewing the last 8 months. I've compiled a Word file of all the relevant e-mails. I'll send them to anyone interested. Just let me know.

Excerpts are below.

Go to the last three e-mails if you are short of time and patience.

The ones in between are just to show the sorry saga about how you can be "led up the garden path".

The e-mails below are just a small selection.....

1] The "urgent" Job Offer
16th February 2012

>Peter

>You mentioned timescales to me in our last discussion and there is some urgency in our recruitment so when would you be free to travel? did you say early March?

>The Deputy Academic Director for Ibra left suddenly because he had a family bereavement and subsequent family issues that needed to be attended to.
The DAD for Buraimi returned to the States for surgery.

>Your interest came at a time when they lost two DAD's so it was rushed through to me to follow up and if you can at least intimate a preference re location we can narrow down our queries. That might be the way round to do it. ...
Kind regards and thank you for your patience.
M.

>The document I attach is an offer of employment, a contract will be signed
on arrival in Oman and after a medical is completed ( blood tests for
communicable diseases and chest x-ray.) You will also be finger printed by
the Royal Omani Police ( ROP).
The approval process takes circa one week and once approval is received you
will be issued with an eticket from your nearest international airport to
Muscat where you will be met by a representative, taken to your
accomodation and then to meet the Director for academic studies
. ....

I understand that the accommodation you will be offered will be in keeping
with the seniority of the post ....

M.
============
2] The Incompetence in the delays...

Dear M.,

I'm rather concerned about the posts I've been reading on Dave's ESL Forum, under the thread - "AVOID University of Buraimi" Please have a look at them. I've now left Leeds Language Academy and am in "limbo" between jobs.

"A week" is turning into two.

================
Good morning Peter

Yes. I fully understand your predicament and am more than a little irritated myself at the state of affairs. If misery likes company, there are several teachers waiting for final word... one from New Zealand and the other from California. Playing with people's lives is something I do not do and feel more than a little angry at what has happened.

In addition to the problems you are facing, the programme and most importantly the students need the best possible education....

Yesterday, there was a "Goodwill" meeting between the university's and ITES's legal teams and I hope to hear what and if any decisions have been made.

I will keep in contact with you and M. ....

Kind regards

M. S.
=======================
Again, I must apologize for this interminable delay.

For a long time, I could to make any sense as to why this was happening. The university has already approved your application(as you know) and usually it takes only a few days for the Ministry to give us permission to go ahead with the contract.

What I discovered today is that because there are legal issues between the university and ITES, the ministry will not approve anything until these issues are settled.
=======================
Dear Peter
Again, I must apologize for the delay ...

The university will do nothing to facilitate your coming to Oman at the moment. They are thinking of employing a new director for the General Foundation Programme. Until that time, they will not let us make any decisions about recruitment.

I suspect that a decision will be made very soon and then I will contact you and M about your status and coming to Oman.

There are still outstanding issues which are still not legally sorted between the universities and ITES. Until these issues are sorted, we can bring nobody into the country.
M. S.
=====================

3] The "promotion"

Dear Peter

You have been selected for the position of Director of the General Foundation Programme at Buraimi University,Oman.

Being appointed to this position isconditional on acceptance by the university and Ministry of Higher Education. This process may take up to two months to complete.

M.S.
=================
Dear Peter.....
Your applications and supporting documents have been sent to Buraimi for approval. We already have approval from the Ministry of Higher Education. I hope the process will be swift because we would very much like you to join us as Director of the General Foundation Programme.

I understand that this process has been long and frustrating; but it has been outside of our control. Now that issues have been resolved, all is well .

Dr Ali and I want to express our gratitude for your patience and hope to be able to give you good news very soon.

Kind regards

M. S.
===============
Good morning Peter

I sent you an email a few weeks ago saying that the process again was moving slowly. I also said that I did not want to put you in a difficult position as happened before.

We would still very much like to have you with us but the political situation is still very difficult.

As I said before, The company is very sorry that this situation has happened and we are still hoping for a good resolution.
Kind regards

M S
=======================
FROM ME - PETER

M,

I was told not to believe [Dave's ESL] forum gossip about the University of Buraimi. In view of that recommendation, please comment on the sequence of events detailed below.

5th April 2012 - Offer officially received of a position as Deputy Academic Director at the University of Buraimi to fill an "immediate vacancy". All my documents were approved.

Results

1] My Resignation as Director of Studies in Leeds - permanent loss of employment.
2] My cancellation of three other long term academic commitments.
3] Sale of my car at considerable loss
4] Arrangements - house sitter - packing - made in order to leave within one week - the time I was told I should expect to receive an e-ticket.
5] My wife "stranded" in the middle of a family visit to Korea - not knowing whether to join me in UK or Oman.

Two months no action - uncertainty.

June 2012 My position "approved by University of Buraimi but delayed by the Oman Ministry due to
a] legal disputes and, later
b] the imminent appointment of a new Director."

25th June 2012: Offer of position as Director of Foundation English - University of Buraimi - this time "ratified by Oman Ministry but to be ratified by University Buraimi within two months".

9th September 2012: Still no evidence of any action from Oman.

Communication has been due since 25th August 2012 - two months since offer was made regarding my appointment.

Peter
====================
8th September 2012
Dear Peter

You were told on many occasions clearly that the appointment was conditional on approval. One of the factors against your appointment was you age.

ITES is sorry that you have had such problems but at this point it would be best for you to consider searching for employment elsewhere to avoid further problems in your receiving employment.

M.S.

Hello Peter,

I am at a loss as to what is happening. M.S. has replied to me but it is complicated and and offers no clear explanation. I am not sure he can give one.
There appears to be much trouble with all recruitment.
In short, it appears there aren't any jobs.The defense seems to be lack of clarity, internal wrangling, and an expectation that we should (all) understand the vagaries of the Arab world.
M.



(MOD edit for names)
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16027
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry for the mess. I will admit that I didn't bother to read all that because it is all so sadly typical... especially of recruiters in the Gulf.

Although it says that you have been a member since 2009, this was your first post. This is a lesson in asking questions here before you do things like... resign from a current job.

Hopefully others will learn from your experience.

VS
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rossc



Joined: 08 Sep 2012
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always feel very sad when I read stories like this. Personally, I gave up another professional vocation to movie into teaching English and subsequently put the effort in to complete an MA. I now realise that part of that decision means accepting that I will be working in other areas of the world that have substantially lower labour practices where they treat people with far less respect that I would receive in my own country.

Anyway, sometimes, just sometimes, when I read stories like this I do have doubts about teaching English abroad.

I am sorry to hear about your experience. I know this is no consolation right now, but in the past when I have had what I consider to be terrible setbacks they have often allowed a new door to open that I had not previously considered. I hope something positive comes of this eventually!
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FarGone



Joined: 02 Nov 2011
Posts: 97

PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm... A few days after I posted this link in another thread (warning off of UoB/ELS/ITES), Heiress Blogger deletes it: http://wanderlustravelinguist.blogspot.com/2011/07/els-oman-recap-and-caution-to-anyone.html

The fresh air of Arab Spring. Razz
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12474
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear FarGone,

It seems useless to post the link when this is what one gets by going there:

"Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist."

Regards,
John
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FarGone



Joined: 02 Nov 2011
Posts: 97

PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnslat wrote:
Dear FarGone,

It seems useless to post the link when this is what one gets by going there:

"Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist."

Regards,
John


Duh. Read my post. Two nights ago, it was up; now: "PPhht!"
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12474
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear FarGone,

DUH . . . so could you explain to me why you posted the link when there is nothing there to support what you wrote?

I guess we're just supposed to take your completely unsupported word for it.

DUH!!!!!

Regards,
John
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FarGone



Joined: 02 Nov 2011
Posts: 97

PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I took screen shots of one damning portion of it (two shots), but dunno how to upload such here--and I think we're all in agreement that ELS/ITES/UoB is not the place to be.

(Interesting about the recent deletion of a very critical and well-sourced blog.)
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16027
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The fact is that many people don't actually want their blog to be public. And, if they are staying in the Middle East to work, I would always advise them to make sure that it is private to only those that they wish to see it. Too many bloggers don't realize that some Dave's poster is going to "out" them to the EFL world here.

Blogs have resulted in a number of teachers being "not renewed" in the Gulf. Even posting things one might consider innocuous can backfire. Often it is the comments that will catch you out. A problem that becomes obvious if one reads around here for awhile. Some idiot poster will include a rant and you, the blogger, gets blamed for it. Or people identify other people on the blog.

An anti-HCT blog had comments on speculating who the real writer of the blog was... and got the teachers identified in trouble... even those they had nothing to do with any of it.

And Fargone...

Don't assume that you speak for anyone else but yourself.

VS
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madrileno



Joined: 19 Aug 2010
Posts: 150
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry that happened to you packroyd.

I'm sorry that's happened to a lot of people.

ELS has acquired quite a reputation here in Oman. There are many threads on here that attest to their mismanagement and bad hiring practices, as well as horrid treatment of employees.

One can read about other applicants who were mistreated by ELS in the "Avoid University of Buraimi" thread.

Applicants and those considering ELS should read all the threads on here before considering.
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La Reve



Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 62
Location: Ici

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:04 am    Post subject: Learn from my mistake Reply with quote

I have two court cases with ITES-ELS and the University of Buraimi.

Rumor is it that the ITES-ELS Director of the Foundation Program (there are two programs: one with ELS, the other with the University) was being considered to be let go because he borrowed money from teachers as well as banks in town. Thus, if ITES-ELS fired him, the company would have been responsible for his bank debts, but would be free to hire you.

Additonally, the U of Buraimi Director of the Foundation Program was found guilty of sexual harassment and sentenced to 15 days in jail and a fine of 500 rials. This court finding was September 16th and the offical report just released. October 2nd.

I think his and my lawyers were going to have the U of Buraimi Director file an appeal and not tell me, and thus the case would be dismissed, and he would be able to keep his position in Oman. And thus you would not be hired for this position.

However, I just filed an appeal, requesting the original 2,700 Omani Rial that this Director was willing to give me, provided I also allowed him to put me in jail should I be 'discovered' having talked about the case to anyone in Oman. Since he already had two administators lie for him, I refused to sign with that paragraph in it.

So the appeal is in late December. Maybe the U of B will contact you then.

If you were hired for the ITES-ELS position, be grateful you are not there. Working with the teachers, administrators and students, as well as the Steering Committe and Board of Directors of the University of Buraimi would have been impossible. Too many demands, too many misperceptions, too many lies.

I have my court case with ITES-ELS re arbitrary dismissal this coming Sunday.
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packroyd



Joined: 15 Apr 2009
Posts: 6
Location: UK

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:44 am    Post subject: Re: Learn from my mistake Reply with quote

La Reve wrote:
I have two court cases with ITES-ELS and the University of Buraimi.

Rumor is it that the ITES-ELS Director of the Foundation Program (there are two programs: one with ELS, the other with the University) was being considered to be let go because he borrowed money from teachers as well as banks in town. Thus, if ITES-ELS fired him, the company would have been responsible for his bank debts, but would be free to hire you.

Additonally, the U of Buraimi Director of the Foundation Program was found guilty of sexual harassment and sentenced to 15 days in jail and a fine of 500 rials. This court finding was September 16th and the offical report just released. October 2nd.

I think his and my lawyers were going to have the U of Buraimi Director file an appeal and not tell me, and thus the case would be dismissed, and he would be able to keep his position in Oman. And thus you would not be hired for this position.

However, I just filed an appeal, requesting the original 2,700 Omani Rial that this Director was willing to give me, provided I also allowed him to put me in jail should I be 'discovered' having talked about the case to anyone in Oman. Since he already had two administators lie for him, I refused to sign with that paragraph in it.

So the appeal is in late December. Maybe the U of B will contact you then.

If you were hired for the ITES-ELS position, be grateful you are not there. Working with the teachers, administrators and students, as well as the Steering Committe and Board of Directors of the University of Buraimi would have been impossible. Too many demands, too many misperceptions, too many lies.

I have my court case with ITES-ELS re arbitrary dismissal this coming Sunday.


Mark (MOD edit for name) of ITES was at pains to point out to me that ITES was "different" from ELS - I asked specifically about the complaints in "Avoid University of Buraimi" - and that he was "trying to redress 6 million things at once". I was indeed worried about being handed the directorship as a "poisoned chalice" - but perhaps naively I thought I would be able to "make a difference". Perhaps I WAS lucky to escape?
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lizziebennet



Joined: 24 May 2009
Posts: 338

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am sorry that happened to you Packroyd.

It depresses me when I hear these stories and they just keep coming. It makes me wonder when it will be my turn to post a story like this...
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packroyd



Joined: 15 Apr 2009
Posts: 6
Location: UK

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lizziebennet wrote:
I am sorry that happened to you Packroyd.

It depresses me when I hear these stories and they just keep coming. It makes me wonder when it will be my turn to post a story like this...


Just learn from our mistakes - but it's difficult, when you really want the job that's being offered, to ask lots of suspicious questions that may cause offence. What I did was to copy the quotes about Buraimi to Mark (MOD edit for name) and say "Could you please comment on these posts?" I got the reply that they were about ELS, NOT ITES. I was fool enough to believe what I wanted to believe. Crying or Very sad
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FarGone



Joined: 02 Nov 2011
Posts: 97

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

packroyd:

The recruiter who you named is the slug who hired me to University of Buraimi, without a hint that my contract was, actually, held through ELS/ITES. (We were told in May of this year that said recruiter is "no longer the recruiter for ELS/ITES, but has been "named Academic Director." If he is still recruiting to ELS/ITES, we were lied to yet again.)

You are fortunate to not be there. I know La Reve personally, saw what she was put through (and she saw what I went through). Just don't.

ho ho,

FarGone
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