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Buraimi University
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lizziebennet



Joined: 24 May 2009
Posts: 355

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 11:30 am    Post subject: Buraimi University Reply with quote

The information on the University of Buraimi (UoB) appears to be outdated so I have written an update for teachers considering a job at UoB. Like most of the teachers on staff I have happily been working at UoB for a number of years and my comments will be reflective of this.

New Campus


Firstly, the new ‘much larger’ campus has finally been built and it is so much nicer than the old campus that there is no comparison. The university staff officially moved in to the campus this week and things are still being moved and set up so anyone considering a job at UoB should expect the usual teething problems of moving into a new campus.

Management


Most of the negative comments on Dave’s about UoB come from the days when ELES/ITES ran the GFP at the university. The foundation program is now called the Centre of Foundation Studies (CFS) and is run by the university itself. It has been under the same management for a few years now and in my experience the management has run things smoothly and has been supportive of teachers. In fact, I have not heard of any major complaints recently. The majority of teachers have re-signed with the university and most have been teaching at the university for a couple of years already.

OAAA

A team from the OAAA visited UoB last semester and the visit appears to have gone well. The university is currently implementing the suggested changes and seems well on their way to full accreditation.

Students

Unlike many other universities/ colleges in Oman, this semester UoB’s Foundation Program currently has more students enrolling than expected. In fact, the numbers have been so high that more placement tests have had to be scheduled and teachers are being asked if they are willing to teach overtime. Students are from all over Oman, and are the same as students at any other university/college in Oman. The majority of them are placed in Level 1 of the Foundation Program after completing the placement test. There are also those that are at Level 0 and don’t speak any English at all despite the fact that they have studied English since elementary school according to the MoE guidelines. All the difficulties that arise from teaching students of mixed abilities in the same class are present so if teachers are expecting something different to what happens at every other Omani university/ college they should probably look for work in another region.

Salaries

Salaries at UoB are traditionally lower than many other institutions in Oman, but they are not being cut like in other places and none of the CFS teachers were let go over the summer or last semester. All staff members are treated equally and are paid according to their qualifications regardless of whether they are native English speakers or non-native English speakers. In fact, most of the teachers are non-native English speakers who have settled in Buraimi with their families. There were more native English-speaking teachers in the past but after gaining Middle Eastern teaching experience they tend to leave for better paying jobs in wealthier GCC countries.

The Vice-Chancellor runs a tight ship and teachers have not been paid late once since UoB took over the Foundation Program (overtime and extra summer pay are the only things that have taken a little time). In fact, they pay staff early every month and this summer they gave teachers their salary for both July and August upfront. The health insurance the university currently has covers both Oman and the UAE which gives teachers access to a good range of medical facilities (although this could change).

Hiring

CFS used to hire teachers with BAs or unrelated MAs but if you look at the university website you will notice that the HR department has been very strict about qualifications in recent years and has only been hiring teachers with related MAs or PHDs. However, like most places in Oman instructors that do not meet the strict requirements may have a chance of obtaining a job if they make a good impression on the hiring team and are available at a time when positions need to be filled immediately.

Oman/UAE Border

As most people know Buraimi directly borders Al Ain in the UAE but the UAE has implemented stricter border access rules so there are no more border passes available for teachers. However, most teachers can still get a visa at the border without having to apply for an e-visa at present (despite what is being written in the newspapers) and so have access to all the UAE has to offer. I am not sure about teachers from Syria or countries currently involved in conflict as rules seem to differ for people from those countries. Rents have also gone down tremendously because expats working in Al Ain are no longer allowed to live in Buraimi and cross over on a daily basis which was the case before and resulted in rents being much higher.
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lizziebennet



Joined: 24 May 2009
Posts: 355

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:38 pm    Post subject: Things to do in Buraimi Reply with quote

Gym

I know this was a question people asked a few years back. There is now a big park with grass, trees, play areas for kids, a fountain etc. It has a nice path on its outer rim where people walk when it is not too hot. Also, the government has built a very big stadium with an Olympic size swimming pool and a gym. It costs OMR40 a year to join but it is not open all the time to both sexes as there are special times for men and women.

As far as I know it the pool is only open to women four times a week and two of those times are at noon for two hours when most people will be teaching. The other two times are early evening slots of 2 hours. I think from 5 to 7. So if you are a female you can probably count on being able to swim there twice a week.

Shopping and Leisure

Buraimi has a big Lulu Hypermarket which is pretty well stocked and a City Cinema which is cheaper than the City Cinema in Muscat. It also has three nice coffee shops (Oxygen, Take and Taste Cafe, and Nice Cafe) and a McDonald's, Dominos Pizza, KFC and Baskin Robbins. There are also some good Middle Eastern restaurants (Syrian, Iraqi, Turkish and Yemeni) and restaurants that serve delicious Indian food. There is even a Filipino restaurant which I have yet to experience. There are no shisha cafes in Buraimi anymore due to new rules from the government. If you are looking for that you have to drive out of town to find them.
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Charlie123



Joined: 11 Nov 2008
Posts: 130

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that. It is good to have a detailed description to compare with my own humble living. Can you tell me the salary range there?
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lizziebennet



Joined: 24 May 2009
Posts: 355

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good question Charlie123 and probably the one everyone wants the answer to!

Unrealistic expectations

I usually wouldn't post these kinds of details online and hope I don't get in trouble for it but I believe some teachers go into Gulf job interviews in Oman thinking they will be offered big bucks like Saudi and richer gulf countries and then go through the whole interview process only to decline a job because they are not happy with the offer. I have not met anyone who has been able to negotiate a 'higher salary range' than what is offered on the salary scale at UoB, even when they are excellent teachers and have threatened to leave. At UoB they follow their policies to a T and that includes the salary scales they have implemented. I would therefore advise people reading this to only go ahead and do interviews if they are willing to consider the salary range I mention below.


Foundation Program


I am not in HR/ on the hiring committee so don't take my word for it but in past years salaries at UoB started from around Omr944 for BA/MA with no experience, to OMR1144 for an MA with experience to a bit over OMR1200 or around there for PhDs (including all allowances) and you get flights once a year, visas and medical for you and your family (up to 2 kids). I don't think this has changed in the last few years but again don't take my word for it. If you are a couple working together your salary will be lower because they don't give both sets of allowances. This is what I know in terms of instructors in the Foundation Program only. The people that teach courses in the colleges for example the College of Health Science or College of Business GET MORE as they teach many more courses for credits and generally need to do a lot more preparation etc.


Cost of Living

It does sound low but many places are cutting their salaries due to the oil slump so I figure it is pretty much similar to what is being offered at a lot of places at present. Buraimi is a much cheaper place to live than bigger cities like Sohar and Muscat and you can get an apartment for OMR100 or OMR120 (and even OMR85 for smaller older ones) or a villa for OMR160-OMR200 (even less for older ones but most people won't live in the old style ones made of that clay material). It is also much smaller so you can walk to a lot of places depending on the heat and where you choose to live. Taxis cost 500 baisa to go anywhere in town and OMR1 to Lulu which is out of town on the highway. Buses to Sohar and Muscat are cheap. If you get a driver it would probably work out even cheaper. There are loads of restaurants selling Shawarmas or fruit smoothies for a few 100 baisa if you go native. In all honesty there is not much to do and not much you can spend your money on in town so I figure even if you earn OMR944 you can save US$1500 a month or even more if you don't live it up or spend all your money going on shopping trips to Al Ain, Abu Dhabi or Dubai.

Hope all this information helps.

Lizzie


Last edited by lizziebennet on Fri Sep 09, 2016 7:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17607
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Lizzie... good to see you. Cool

VS
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lizziebennet



Joined: 24 May 2009
Posts: 355

PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2016 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks V.S. It's been a while.

There have been a lot of changes in Buraimi and with the university itself. People who used to live here or work at UoB two or more years ago in the old campus would only be able to give very outdated information which is why I decided to write these posts.

Also UoB is currently looking for more teachers due to a higher student enrolment than expected so I am sure some of the people considering UoB as an option will be reading this board and will hopefully feel like they are getting a positive but balanced viewpoint from myself.

Lizzie
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rustyrockets



Joined: 06 Sep 2015
Posts: 75
Location: Thinking about it...

PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds lovely, wish I had a chance. Crying or Very sad
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lizziebennet



Joined: 24 May 2009
Posts: 355

PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:44 am    Post subject: UoB Reply with quote

If anyone would like more info feel free to PM me. We are on Eid vacation this week and I have lots of time Smile

Lizzie
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Noelle



Joined: 26 Mar 2005
Posts: 359
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for this. The post is extremely helpful. I attempted to refer a colleague of mine here in the U.S. (Iranian nat'l) to Oman, to SQU in particular, only to learn soon after that SQU's LC isn't hiring outside the country, and job prospects in the country are looking a bit bleak for PhD holders.

Will pass all of this info. about Univ. of Buraimi on to him.
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La Reve



Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 69
Location: Ici

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 7:56 pm    Post subject: University of Buraimi - probably NOT a good choice Reply with quote

Four years ago I left the University of Buraimi, after seven years with the Ministry of Higher Education, MOHE, and four with the Ministry of Manpower. Manpower was more professional than MOHE. However, private colleges in Oman are mostly nightmares. The Labor Office was unable to help with my dispute with the University of Buraimi, probably because one of the owners was the Sultan.

The usual reasons: lack of books, students pulling fire alarms, students writing on desks and refusing to clean them, stating cleaning desks was for servants – with the administration backing them up. When books arrived reuse was instituted, with students to erase them before returning them. Teachers were advised not to accept unerased books. Then that rule was not administrated and most teachers took the easy way out.

One alcoholic teacher was caught writing a letter proclaiming to friends back home he was the head of the department – and not alcoholic. Another bizarre Irish teacher who was briefly employed in Salalah, appeared in Buraimi, and somehow quickly disappeared from Buraimi.

A South African group of administrators was less than exemplary. The head guy had a habit of borrowing money from anyone who would lend to him. One couple, years earlier, had committed fraud through a church in South Africa. The wife returned to South Africa and was promptly arrested. Omani administration knowingly accepted fake credentials for these administrators as well as teachers. One such foreign teacher was put into a supervisory position and told to observe and write up teachers. How he managed this was a mystery since he could not write a paragraph in English. But he was tall and male.

Schedules were constantly changed. After five such changes, being the fifth teacher assigned, the students revolted against me. I was removed from that class. I then wrote a study skills program, but how to write a beginner level when students couldn’t even read? I failed at that.

Foreign backers of the university eventually cut ties with the school. Students protested the IETLS teaching and test procedures were too difficult so that too was discarded. The Sultan bought off Arab Spring protestors by upping the monthly stipend for college students and adjusting enrollment requirements downward. Omani students, aware of the situation, still enrolled for the money.

Then one Iraqi administrator, who held a valid PhD, began sexually harassing me, a 62 year old American. Why? Because previously in Ibri, Oman, being fat and 52, him not being reprimanded by male colleagues or an administrator, I caved in and said ‘yes’. Ten years later, with a facelift and weight loss, I was distressed he recognized me. I said ‘No’ this time. He was no longer a colleague but an administrator, and saying ‘No’ was easy having learned from experience he was not worth the potential problems.

I warned him that bothering me was dangerous and unethical, especially since, unlike the last time, his wife and some of his five children now lived with him. Still, he persisted. I eventually sued him.

One funny event in all this was trying to explain a phone text, “I want you” is sexual harassment in an Omani court, through a translator. I won, but still he remains as an administrator at the University of Buraimi.

From my experience, cesspools in developing countries worsen, and sexual harassers, like rapists, don’t quit with one prey. And people wearing rose-colored glasses, as my former colleague Lizzie, become delusional after years of denial.

Applicants, beware. Don't be surprised when reality hits the rosy delusion and you find yourself stuck in a cesspool, although it's in a new building.

I only accepted the position at U of Buraimi because I DID NOT find honest information about it on Dave’s. It was one of the worst positions I held in 25 years of teaching English overseas, and the worst in the Gulf – it trumped a job Saudi Arabia.

Four years later, a nicer building, but still the s.o.s.

Read the earlier post about the military college in Muscat. Same applies.

The Ministry of Manpower colleges are better - the Colleges of Technology. But education in Oman has dived. Even students who plagiarize at Sultan Qaboos University pass courses, unpunished.
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CVN-76



Joined: 28 Mar 2014
Posts: 171

PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:21 am    Post subject: No Thanks Reply with quote

" Hiring

CFS used to hire teachers with BAs or unrelated MAs but if you look at the university website you will notice that the HR department has been very strict about qualifications in recent years and has only been hiring teachers with related MAs or PHDs. However, like most places in Oman instructors that do not meet the strict requirements may have a chance of obtaining a job if they make a good impression on the hiring team and are available at a time when positions need to be filled immediately. "

Immediately as in 'right now, because a teacher got fed up with the nonsense and ran off'? Sounds like it. This thread reads like a recruitment poster, and it reeks of desperation. I'll pass.
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lizziebennet



Joined: 24 May 2009
Posts: 355

PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amazing how people presume to know what is going on at a place they don't work at in a town they don't live in.

No La Reve, things are not the same as they were before (at least not with the staff... some students still act up I am sure although the desks have not been defaced yet Smile) and no CVN no one did a runner.

I assure you that if any of those things were happening or someone did a runner they would most likely be posting on this board right now.

The reason why no one is posting is because there is no drama to post. Pretty simple.
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CANDLES



Joined: 01 Nov 2011
Posts: 605
Location: Wandering aimlessly.....

PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lizzie:

Are you the "official" spokesperson for UOB then? Or just a very loyal employee ?
Did they run out of money for official advertisements or did you just take this 'job' upon yourself? Just wondered.

Good for you. You're obviously enjoying the great experience.
Shocked
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Salander



Joined: 14 Nov 2016
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:29 am    Post subject: Undeterred Reply with quote

Hi Lizzie,

I'm in Oman now, and am looking for work. I have 6 years experience teaching Foundation students here.

Are you still in need of teachers either for now or next semester?

I have applied through the website, but nothing. I can't PM you, as have just re-joined under a new username, so don't have that right yet. Perhaps you could PM me?
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17607
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can neither send nor receive PMs until you have 5 posts. If you heard nothing from an application sent as directed on their website, I would assume that either the positions are filled or there is a glitch. I would try emailing HR or even calling.

VS
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