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New ex-pat employment law
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 832
Location: Flying around the ME...

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to the DG for employment at the MOM:

"Males preferred
Al Ghabshi argues that if the same job can be done by a man, there is no need to employ a female applicant.

When you bring in a lady, you have to take care of her accommodation as well, he said. "You cannot rent a place for a lady everywhere. You must take care of the ladies."

and later in the same article:

"Omanisation
Asked if the decision is related to the process of Omanisation and the large number of female Omani graduates, he said that it is partly linked to that.

"If an Omani can work in the same field, we will give the job to him or her," he said, adding the ministry works closely with education authorities in this regard. "In the future, we will train Omanis in these sectors (where expats are required) and put Omanis (in place of them)," he added."

But I suspect that VS is right and they will need female ex-pat teachers for some time yet. However the number of Omani female lecturers has gone up four-fold where I work in just over 3 years, they haven't just replaced ex-pat females though, the ratio of ex-pats to Omanis has changed substantially in favour of the latter. There's also several Omani female lecturers who have been sponsored to do PhD's abroad and who will have to be placed in the Colleges when they come back.

Basically Omanisation is here and here to stay.
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pooroldedgar



Joined: 07 Oct 2010
Posts: 81

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"If an Omani can work in the same field, we will give the job to him or her,"

I gotta be honest here: I've never seen an Omani actually do work. Hold a job? Sure. Have a laugh at meetings? Ok. Sit behind a desk? They're good at that. But never actually work.

I go to Lulu, a succession of cashiers waves me from aisle to aisle to aisle, cause they just wanna sit their talking to their coworkers. I go the bank, my number comes up, and they ask me to see another teller because -- wait for it -- they're talking to their friends. Getting my passport photo taken was a real drag. We were a long line, and between every photo, the guy would stop to send a few texts and get in a round of Angry Birds. Omantel couldn't even bothered to come install internet in my house for a good three or four months.

The government probably has a decision to make. Have the jobs in this country done well by expats, or poorly, if at all, by locals. They'll probably side with poorly. I don't know where you guys work, but at my school how well you actually teach is...well, it's never come up.
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Whatever will be



Joined: 05 Feb 2014
Posts: 104

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pooroldedgar:

You've pretty much summed up the quality of the Omani labour/ labour force. The government will push for Omanisation as they will have to financially support the population, whether they work or don't work. The quality of services will go down and the expats will all learn to live with it or move on to another country.

At my workplace, there are constant students evaluations, classroom observations and checks of the administrative duties performed. The student evaluations assess things as the lecturers clothes (unless you wear an abaya or dishdasha, you get marked down), the lecturers availability for consultation within office hours although staff are not allowed to consult with students in their offices as per the head's directive (again, you get marked down), etc.
Classroom observations are unannounced and often very subjective. Even if you do the same things in all your lessons, you get somebody who loves it and the next time you might get an observer who hates it.
Overall, both exercises end up usually negative and staff morale is accordingly.
The checking of administrative duties is a simple compliance issue and there is no observable impact other than intimidation and fear/ job insecurity for teachers " to keep them on their toes".
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CVN-76



Joined: 28 Mar 2014
Posts: 115

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ultimately, though, all that matters is whether you pass your students or not. I know how it is. And I'll tell you straight up. Many of your students, if not most, have very little ability, despite years of study. Some after as many as 5 years still have no ability, yet there they are, in your classes, classes with a native speaker/writer they are nowhere near ready for. This is because in the past they have been automatically passed by teachers who were 'kept on their toes' and conditioned to be fearful. You are expected to continue to automatically pass these students, and these students know it. If you don't automatically pass them as they have been in past and continue to expect, if you put the hammer down like your title says you have to, you will be on a plane going home. Also...know that some teachers are so desperate for job security they will engage in teacher cheating by giving their students answers to exams beforehand, students whose exams these teachers just happen to proctor. These students, of course, pass with flying colors, making their teachers look fantastic. Later, when these teachers are long gone, you will inherit their messes. But that's another post, another subject of discussion. The messes teachers make by playing along and passing everybody. Messes fresh-meat teachers will have to (unknowingly) wade into. How am I doing so far? Sound about right?

Again...if you pass everybody, no matter their ability, you will be fine. This should be obvious, given the overall ability levels of the students you see. I've seen teachers who came to class drunk or came to class with food all over their laples, ties on backwards, mismatched socks, et al. They did not give a damn what they looked like. But those guys knew the score and followed the unwritten, understood rule--everybody passes. Those guys managed/manage/will manage to keep their jobs longer than anybody. Can you play along and adhere to the everybody-passes rule that is obviously in effect in these places?

Trust me, friends. The evaluations, from both students and administrators, are only done so they can use those as a pretext to get rid of you if you don't adhere to the everybody-passes rule. This, too, should be obvious.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16063
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interestingly I failed students every semester that I taught all around the Gulf. Of course, I taught at the better universities in each country. Borderline students with high wasta, I passed to management to make the pass/fail decision. None of the many students that I failed ever managed to get my grade overruled and almost every one of them insisted on getting into my class again to repeat... even though I tried to talk them out of it suggesting that they may do better with a different teacher and a different approach.

These days, these newish institutions in the hinterlands are a whole new kettle of fish. (and pretty smelly!!) Shady recruiters, poor management, and yes, students that are passed on just to get rid of them. But, my feeling was always was that it was their system and most of these losers who do actually eventually graduate will just live off their family and government anyway.

I worked with many competent, hard-working, professional Omanis in both management and fellow teachers. Whether the tea drinkers will ever develop any work ethic once the expats are gone is the Omani's problem, not ours to be honest.

VS
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Whatever will be



Joined: 05 Feb 2014
Posts: 104

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CVN-76:

You're right in terms of passing students and in terms of teachers cheating to pass students. It's demoralizing, it's disheartening, it's frustrating and it makes the conscientious teachers walk away from the job.

Yes, students have been known to offer 50 Rial to teachers during the exam for providing the right answer.

Students have made formal complaints to the head of school about teachers who took exam duties seriously and walked around the room to prevent cheating. Teachers who leave the room to fetch some coffee or check their phone messages have not been reprimanded.

Nevertheless, the student evaluations, unannounced teacher observations and random checking of administrative files is in place, takes a fair bit of one's time and puts a massive damper on the enthusiasm of teachers.

Veiled Sentiment: The situation I'm describing is in Muscat.
At least, there is a policy (in the place that I work) to have a repeat student placed with another teacher so that the burden is shared.

Yes, you are right that it's their system and I wouldn't give a hoot except that the non-sense exercises falling under the category of " Quality Assurance" are humiliating and traumatizing for anybody serious about their profession.
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CVN-76



Joined: 28 Mar 2014
Posts: 115

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've seen it all in the Middle East. Professional, ethical, teachers, who usually didn't last long (because they both quit and were fired), and the smelliest, vilest, drunkest teachers, who usually lasted for years at the same place because they knew to pass people and had no problem with teacher-cheating. And all teachers between those two extremes. I've even seen some psychos who would get violent with their colleagues (with obvious DOS blessing) to intimidate dissenters and protect their jobs.

Anyway, to get back on track and topic here, there is already enough to deal with in places like Oman. This new rule is just one more straw on the camel's back.
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Sleepwalker



Joined: 02 Feb 2007
Posts: 367
Location: Reading the screen

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have worked with some inspiring Omani staff and with time wasters.

However, I came to post the news that the female visa situation seems to be aimed at housemaids as there will be no visas after 1st June. All of the Omani staff where I work are scrabbling for visa clearance this week.
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pooroldedgar



Joined: 07 Oct 2010
Posts: 81

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How can they stop importing housemaids? Surely no locals would do that job.
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CVN-76



Joined: 28 Mar 2014
Posts: 115

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whatever will be wrote:
You're right in terms of passing students and in terms of teachers cheating to pass students. It's demoralizing, it's disheartening, it's frustrating and it makes the conscientious teachers walk away from the job.

Yes, students have been known to offer 50 Rial to teachers during the exam for providing the right answer.

Students have made formal complaints to the head of school about teachers who took exam duties seriously and walked around the room to prevent cheating. Teachers who leave the room to fetch some coffee or check their phone messages have not been reprimanded.



I figured out within a few hours on day one of my first job in the Middle East that there is an automatic-passing rule in effect there. When recruiting western teachers, recruiters and administrators will whisper sweet nothings about being serious institutions into the ears of potential new hires to lure them to jobs in places like Oman, telling those teachers what they want to hear. But those teachers quickly discover: their classes are made up of students with very little ability, or even no ability, after years of study; they see strange behavior of some teachers during exams (these guys will actually leave the exam rooms during exams to fetch things like snacks); they are saddled with students who are in levels that are two, three, or even higher above their abilities and thus are unable to do the work they are expected to do in their classes (that you have been stuck with); they get strange looks from entrenched teachers who are afraid you are going to figure them out (they've been engaging in teacher cheating to make themselves look like great teachers); exams that are designed with cheating in mind and even encourage cheating; teachers being reprimanded, or worse, for taking exams away from cheating students; clans of power-wielding students ganging up on a particular teacher who clamps down on cheating, tardiness, and apathy, getting that teacher in trouble or forcing that teacher out the door. And I've seen the real teachers come in and go right back out when they see a particular job is but a cesspool they don't want to deal with.

And yes, getting the locals to be maids? When I see it, I will believe it. There is an entire generation of welfare kings and queens in the Middle East. They have the entitlement mentality that will be hard to break. Let's see what happens.
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Whatever will be



Joined: 05 Feb 2014
Posts: 104

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CVN-76:

I've seen a male Omani teacher texting all the way through a final exam, being distracted/ oblivious to the students and knowing very well that nobody will report such behavior. The students will not because it helps them cheating, other teachers will not because they are worried that they will become a victim for bullying/ revenge.

Many large Omani families have 2-3 maids so having one less is not going too much of a hardship for them but rather more work for the remaining housemaids.
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 832
Location: Flying around the ME...

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They're scrambling for the housemaid visas because the going rate for the visa on the black market is currently 800 rials.
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CVN-76



Joined: 28 Mar 2014
Posts: 115

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They'll figure out a way to get those maids. Not having a maid means somebody who has been used to not exerting effort will actually have to start exerting effort.

Another truism in the Middle East: if you are a serious teacher and do fail people, no matter if you get to keep your job or not, those failing grades will be changed behind your back. And if you are allowed to stay on for daring to fail somebody in, for example, Writing 101, you'll then walk into Writing 102 on morning one and see those very students you failed sitting there in the classrooms (or coming 15 minutes late). Most of the time with nothing to write with, nothing to write on, and no textbook. They know on day one they will pass Writing 102 and they know you can't do anything about that fact, you carbon unit, you.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16063
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CVN-76 wrote:
Another truism in the Middle East: if you are a serious teacher and do fail people, no matter if you get to keep your job or not, those failing grades will be changed behind your back. And if you are allowed to stay on for daring to fail somebody in, for example, Writing 101, you'll then walk into Writing 102 on morning one and see those very students you failed sitting there in the classrooms (or coming 15 minutes late). Most of the time with nothing to write with, nothing to write on, and no textbook. They know on day one they will pass Writing 102 and they know you can't do anything about that fact, you carbon unit, you.

I taught for 6 years in Oman, plus my years in Kuwait, Egypt, and the UAE, and that never once happened and I failed students every semester. So, it is not a "truism" in the Middle East, but it is sadly common and getting more so as the years pass. There is variation in employers. It is most common in smaller universities in the villages. IMHO this is because they need to keep these kids off the street and passing them on is the lesser of the evils - better than gangs of young men hanging out at the market, mall, or coffeeshops all day.

VS
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Sleepwalker



Joined: 02 Feb 2007
Posts: 367
Location: Reading the screen

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 'everyone will pass' rule might be true in some colleges but not all. In my experience expats from a certain country push undeserving students through and think it saves their jobs. I also remember Ministry of Manpower audits in an vocational institution I worked in (many moons ago). They always started with a survey of results and if everyone 'passed', there was hell to pay.
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