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Uniservices Recruited Teachers at PNU
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Joined: 12 Dec 2009
Posts: 381
Location: Jeddah, KSA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wanted to paste the comments that nomad soul posted:

"I don't teach at PNU, but there's a process most, if not all, the Saudi govt. unis follow. In order for the uni to properly calculate your salary, you have to email them (soft) copies of your employment verification letters and authenticated degree. However, you're also required to submit hard copies of those very documents (and more) to HR the first day you report to the university. (I suggest photocopying the original verification letters in high-quality color before heading overseas so that you'll have multiple sets of these documents with you.) Once these physical docs are reviewed and approved (could take up to a couple of weeks or more), you'll finally be presented with the actual employment contract---indicating salary and such---for signing. Obviously, problems arise if 1) the teacher doesn't provide the required hard copies after arriving in country, or 2) one or more of the documents submitted are determined by the reviewing department to be "suspect.""

This is the same process that KAU uses. KAU is also a government university. Many times, KAU can turn around this process in about one week. I carried everything with me and it was a smooth process. I have read on Daves that some people don't bother with carrying all of their hard copies because they were sent via email (soft copies). "They didn't tell me to do it that way” or "The guy I spoke with and received emails from told me that it is not needed". Please save yourself from a possible conflict with HR by putting about half-a-kilogram of paperwork in your carry-on bag. Another thing that may be different at KAU is HR might lower your salary if you can’t backup your CV (with letters) and/or education (original, diplomas and/or certificates). I have seen this happen to two of my fellow teachers at KAU. I paid for two original diplomas and/or certificates each time I was about to receive one. I have one set framed back home and the other set is with me.
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Joined: 19 Sep 2011
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vivianne wrote:
Other updates: the outdoor running track was 'opened' by some teachers and now administration has acquiesced for the track and outdoor sports field. The pool/gym is not open. Same as the beginning of September, administration is saying it will open in a few weeks.

The mall shopping shuttles will end next week. No information on opening the on campus grocery store and bank. Fortunately, some teachers were able to connect with a grocery store that now sends it's own shuttle every evening to the campus, so anyone who needs to can go grocery shopping for an hour.

The Internet service that is available is apparently very slow 3G. Quite a few teachers seem to have chosen to buy alternative service via a dongle or a 4G router and that is working very well for them.

No medical insurance cards yet, but some have done their medical for the iqama process. HR has said to submit receipts for medical costs teachers have paid until insurance cards arrive.

With work: Books did arrive later in September. PYP is still at the old campus. There are three programs and there appears to be mixed results with leveling students in classes for all three program with PYP being better than last year. Around 150 teachers are there now with Uniservices plus the contractors. As more teachers arrive the goal is to double the number of hours of English classes for each student, at least in the PYP program. Also the faculty handbook has been disseminated and it lists the upcoming Hajj break as the last break for teachers until the end of the school year. The previously provided academic calendar did not differentiate between student and faculty breaks.

Any word on how much the utilites will cost or the overall cost of the iqama expenses? I understand the teacher pays the utilities in her accommodation (which is shared) and the entire iqama expenses coming over. Any idea the costs?
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Joined: 28 Feb 2009
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't heard of anyone getting a utility bill yet. Considering how many purportedly empty apartment buildings have all lights on and a/c running utilities seem to be used quite freely on the new campus. Very few people have been successful in getting their heaters going as it has turned cold the last few days.

Medical cards have finally arrived for most teachers. Previous medical expenses have sometimes been reimbursed and sometimes not, with no discernible logic to the decisions.

Nothing that has been promised has been opened yet on the new campus, recent issues have included security preventing the supermarket shuttle bus from entering and the mobile phone stores refusing to serve single women. Both of these situations change day by day. We were of course promised a bank, mobile phone store, and supermarket in the living area of the new campus. The building for these businesses does exist.

No word on the gym/pool. I do not know that anyone actually expects that to open this year anymore. Again, it is built.

I have not heard of anyone paying for their Iqama medical while here. To get your visa to come here is running around $1,000-5,000 US mostly for the medical tests. If you are not paying for the medical tests out of pocket it will undoubtedly cost you far less. The teachers who went through Teach Away received a great deal of assistance with their visa process and paid an expediter about $250 to get here more quickly.

So far TeachAway has had the best reviews of the recruiters from what I've heard. On the other hand, most in the PYP program, which has five contracting companies in addition to direct hires, feel the daily life of SBC teachers is the best right now. They currently have their pay schedule, transportation, medical cards, cash advance, bank account opening, Visas (entry/exit and to bring hubbie here for a visit) and compound living in the city with a gym and pool operating all sorted. All of these have been recurrent issues for direct hires. Now SBC has apparently only had their act together for perhaps 3 months and you may still be hired on a business rather than an employement visa. It does seem SBC teachers are expected to stay here through the summer with a paid 30 day holiday at the end of their contract year, which seems to be about 12 months regardless of when start teaching.

What I don't know that anyone has really said is about the attitude in the PYP program which is at the old campus. The overall view is that teachers must protect themselves and go to great lengths to do so as students will report you for punishment for no particular reason from the teacher's viewpoint and they do regularly write teachers up for something that happened months ago. The teachers at this campus also must go everyday to sign in and out and get permission from three different people to change their schedule at all such as leaving campus early to run an errand that must be done during business hours. There is a definite feeling that everyone from teachers to students are treated as misbehaving children and that permeates everything and everyone with great negativity and resentment.

Another thing you don't really know before coming here is just how far the new campus is from everything. There's no walking anywhere for anything. You will spend a lot on taxis as it is so far for them to come. Getting to the PYP campus is 15-45 min trip depending on many things. We are fortunate that some teachers were able to organize with the Tamimi Supermarket to send their complimentary shuttle every day. It makes a world of difference. I know Uniservices tries to present this as something the university did to help teachers, but in reality for the last month the shuttle has been getting delayed or refused entry by university security on a weekly basis despite having all of the proper paperwork and having been coming daily for two months with the same driver and official entry permission paperwork.

By the way, the security guards that are supposed to be outside of our housing buildings 24/7 are often not at their posts and they smoke constantly on our 'non-smoking' campus. However, they no longer spend their time going around yelling at the foreign teachers to cover their hair.

No news on tablets. Some of the earlier arrivals have gotten old, slow, beaten up, used laptops. The university system is full of viruses so you really don't want to risk your own computer. In response, the lead teachers in the PYP program have been keeping a faculty computer lab open by taking turns volunteering to manage it so teachers have something to use three days a week.

They have started to have Professional Development sessions as apparently they are required to be offered and compulsory to attend.
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Joined: 09 Aug 2011
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sounds like a real honey of a job Rolling Eyes
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Joined: 11 Nov 2012
Posts: 46

PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 7:33 pm    Post subject: PMU Reply with quote

Vivianne- sounds horrendous! Sad I heard from a couple of teachers 'inside' and they seems to have had a better time of it.I hope so, as I am meant to be coming there to teach in Jan... Shocked
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Joined: 07 Jun 2012
Posts: 49
Location: Home

PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lcanupp1964 wrote:
Please save yourself from a possible conflict with HR by putting about half-a-kilogram of paperwork in your carry-on bag.

This is good advice. I've also been told to bring a change of clothes, toiletries for a few days, valuables, and any essentials as approximately 10% of luggage gets lost (though supposedly all have been recovered within a few days). I'm worried about weight restrictions for carry-on luggage Smile
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Joined: 07 Jun 2012
Posts: 49
Location: Home

PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vivianne, thank you for posting so much about life at PNU. It sounds pretty much like what I'd expect given the info on this forum and the experiences of teachers I've worked with.

Do you have any advice for a newbie planning on arriving for the winter semester?
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Joined: 16 Nov 2008
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vivienne paints a pretty grim picture with a fairly negative tone. I am a direct hire at PNU and I have no major complaints. A few things she said I disagree with: The computer lab is open everyday, not just three and I have never seen a lead teacher in there. As far as I can tell, it is staffed with Saudi women. I have never been yelled at by a security guard at the new campus to cover my head. The new gym is not available but that has not stopped many of us from getting a good workout nearly every day. IMO, people are using it as an excuse not to get/stay in shape. Not everyone here is permeated with "great negativity and resentment". There are quite a few of us who like our jobs, are satisfied with the living situation, and do our best not to get sucked into the vortex of self-pity. SBC doesn't have it as good as Vivienne makes out. They have been informed that they won't get paid until after the break and that if they leave the country someone else who opts to stay in Saudi must be financially responsible for whatever loss is incurred if that person decides to do "a runner". And, SBC employees are not nearly as well paid as direct hire.

That said, there are many legitimate complaints. Women with husbands are getting the run-around about having them come here to join them and others have waited over two months to get their first paycheck. There was an unfortunate incident about a month ago where an apartment was broken into and the victim was poorly and unfairly treated when she reported it. Maintenance here was quite attentive initially, but now seem to ignore all requests for repairs. My building has been without television reception for well over a week now in spite of repeated calls. The women's gym is open, but only men can use it! That is what irks me the most.

Anyway, that's my two cents worth for now. For those about to arrive or contemplating coming here, please keep an open mind and don't take what any individual says as gospel. There are a lot of opinionated women here, myself included, but none of us are experts on expat life and Saudi culture. Gossip and misinformation abounds.
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Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi All
I received a contract from Uniservices on Friday .. I have done as much research as I can, and at this point am seriously considering the position.
There are, however, a few questions that I have for teachers who are currently at PNU at the minute:

Are teachers expected to be at the Uni outside of the set 20 hrs face - face teaching time?
Are there any additional office hours?
Are holidays set / is a portion set aside to be requested?
Are trousers an absolute no no whilst teaching? Are T shirts acceptable or does it HAVE to be shirts & blouses?
Is transportation to work still an issue?

What are the living quarters actually like?
Are you provided with utensils / linen / towels etc when you 1st arrive?
What are the household amenities?
Are singles ever housed with those with children?
Is there internet & is it reliable?
Are there still issues with the heating?

Are the gym/ pool still not accessible?

Are there any items (personal / household) that you wish you had had the foresight to bring with you ? Confused

Thank you so very much in advance - sorry if it is question overload, but I am trying my best to be prepared! I'd very much welcome PMs for answers to the above/ any additional information that may be useful/ tips / issues etc etc for anyone who may not want to post.
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Joined: 27 Dec 2010
Posts: 1
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


I hope someone answers your post - I'm also at that junction now and these are more or less the exact same questions I would like to have answered.

Let's cross fingers!
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Joined: 25 Oct 2012
Posts: 401

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

readytotravel wrote:
The women's gym is open, but only men can use it!

Very Happy Sorry about your trials and tribs, but that made me laugh. Welcome to KSA!

It is clear to anyone how women are treated here, so don't expect special handling.
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