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Post new topic   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Qatar
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Joined: 09 Nov 2007
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 10:49 am    Post subject: QATAR UNIVERSITY - masalama Reply with quote

Setting the record straight:

This is not a rant but a personal account of what I feel was unfair dismissal. In the US, I would have been able to request a hearing.

I was actually one of those people who got fired last year about this time. It was a big shock! I had been a hard working member of the department for a number of years. Like many of the other teachers fired in 2006, I had suffered the indignity of receiving a lower salary than newer, less qualified and less experienced teachers. Most of the group that were fired had been on a very low salary scale - less than half of what people now receive - New teachers were employed with higher salaries; this had been going on for several years as our former head battled to get pay equity. We put up with the low salary because we had made a committment to the university, we liked our job, our boss, the students and the place itself. Qatar was a great place to live (for me at least - don't know about my excolleagues) and it's too bad I had to leave the country but I took the best job that came up after getting fired. A good job but I don't like the place I am living in now. Liked Qatar better.

Pay equity finally happened for us but by that time the head had resigned. We had to accept pay inequality for years in silence as we knew there was no other choice, put up and shut up was the basic QU message. The exhead tried her best to rectify the problem but it was not in her hands. It was thanks to her battle for pay equity for the oldtime staff that the payscale was finally resolved but she was not around to see it.

Like most of the other 2006 fired teachers, I had received 'above expectation' on my evaluation and portfolio but had no idea that firing was just around the corner. Most of the teachers in the line of fire were stunned. One or two of my colleagues cracked up - another guy is still suffering the effects of depression over this. Stangely enough, colleagues who had received 'as expected' or 'below expected' were given a 3 year contract; in extreme contrast, other well qualified 'above expectation' teachers were given one year (non????) renewable A whole year of waiting in agony - will they? won't they? These people are probably now being fired as this is the firing time of year. I don't know what's happening to them - but I hope they don't get fired like we did. It was a bad experience.

Some posters on these sites - who know nothing about the real situation or about us - allege that those of us who were fired are probably 'dead wood'. What does this mean? I wonder why many 'dead wood' teachers who were major contributors to the foundation program and its activities got 'above expectation'. would seem strange to most people to fire 'above expected' staff. Real dead wood types usually manage to hang on because they are opportunists who know how to butter the right people.

At the time of our dismissal, some of us had a very unsatisfactory interview with the Director who passed the buck to the Head who passed the buck back to the Director or blamed university policy for our firings. Maybe.... Very few of us (and there were a lot of fired teachers-) got an acceptable explanation. Here are some of them:

1. Too old for renewal (but that doesn't explain the 69 year old teacher who was hired in 2005 and is still going strong for renewal at age 72!!!). I bet this person has been renewed. Several teachers around 60 were not renewed or given the one year (non???) renewable contract. (Nevertheless, certain 'selected' people over 60 were given a 3 year contract last year - this was done by giving them management jobs to justify retaining them.. The logical conclusion is --- you figure it out.

2. Wrong Qualifications - several teachers with degrees in translation or other language related disciplines were told that their qualifications were no longer valid. Interestingly many American Ivy League universities employ professors, researchers and lecturers who do not have a degree in the field they actually teach or do research in. Standard practice at the best universities in the US. Instead their experience and other qualifications are factored in when they are offered their job - many of them get tenure. My linguistics prof was an anthropologist by profession who driftted into linguistics but never got qualitifed in it. He was a great prof!!! . Many respected institutions really value people who have translation degrees as they are able to fence both languages. This is usually seen as a plus and not a minus in the teaching profession in the States.

3. Accredidation: QU is in the process of being accredited by CEA. Some of us were told that the accreditation people did not accept our qualifcations or degreees. However, apparently CEA policy does not demand that institutions undergoing accreditation fire people currently employed if they are doing a competent and satisfactory job. They did not advise QU to fire us - this was an internal decision.

4. Too long at QU - This is a strange justification as several teachers who worked at QU longer than I idid or some of the other firees were renewed and given 3 year contracts- at the same time it was hinted we'd overstayed our welcome. Some longtimers were actually given positions of management in order to keep them on. The person in charge has worked there since the 1980s and so is the longest serving teacher. Somehow does not seem fair or logical that teachers be told they've been around too long.

5. Wrong degree granting institution: Some people were told that only people with 'western' degrees were now required because of accreditation. Some of us were given the hint that country of origin was also a factor in not being renewed but nobody said this in clear terms. In the US, people sue for this kind of thing.

The facts:

Yes, it is true that most of the teachers were older and had been around for some time. They were doing their jobs properly. But it is also a fact that none of these teachers were involved in activities that go against the cultural and relgious beliefs of the country. A number of new staff openly ignore the religious orientation of the country and get away scotfree with some dubious antics. It is also true that most of the fired people worked hard to set up the foundation program that new teachers so easily walked into - they walk into a program already functioning and put in place by people who sweated blood and tears to get it established.

Some of us have been lucky and moved on to better paying jobs. I am one of them. Some of us not were not so lucky. Some of us are bitter, some of us are resigned to fate. But the fact remains that most of the people who were fired were not fired for incompetence or shirking their job or duties. There were other reasons which were never voiced or explained clearly.

So people can say what they want about the firing/renewal policy. It obviously needs revamping - and yes, it is true - the more people that are fired, the more often management can go on recruitment trips. Law of return. One commenter said that gving teachers a Letter of Intent at end of contract was the way to go - I agree. In my current job, I just received a request to let them know if I want to stay on. I appreciate this sort of policy. The policy in operation at QU is simply unfair and biased against long serving teacehers. Teachers have a right to know if their performance is not meeting expectations or whether are are some problem areas. Let the teachers know about these problem areas, be supportive and transparent - give them a break! Teachers deserve better support. We also were not given an opportunity to resign - one teacher handed in his resignation letter at the time of the firing - it was refused. This man had worked very hard throughout the years. He felt very humiliated.

We did not deserve the shabby treatment we got, years of loyal service down the drain just because of office politics. So I am setting the record straght - my record in any case. I hope my honest comments will be allowed to remain. I also hope that any of my excolleagues who get fired this year are treated with more respect than we were. Peace to them.
I want the foundation to succeed but it will only succeed if the teachers are treated fairly and respectfully. You get what you give. You give what you get. ....
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Joined: 26 Nov 2006
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right on, burnout!

I am one of the newbies who joined QU in 2006 and was there when the firings happened. I couldn't agree more with what you say about our ex-colleagues being responsible, qualified and competent teachers. I actually posted something to that effect in response to what one of the posters wrote about the "dead wood" and "drunks" that they must have been...

It was, and still is, a mystery to a lot of us what exactly happened. I also agree that the accreditation excuse sounds bogus in light of what CEA requires.

I am glad to read that you're doing okay and wish you the best.

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