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Employers' attitudes to reputable distance degrees

 
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stephenbranigan



Joined: 06 Mar 2008
Posts: 15
Location: Poland

PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 11:56 am    Post subject: Employers' attitudes to reputable distance degrees Reply with quote

I'm just wondering if anyone has hard facts on the acceptability of distance degrees in the region?

I’ve been applying for posts, mostly in Saudi Arabia, though some in Qatar and UAE over the past month or so. I have a BA (Business Studies) and MA (Education with Linguistics), both from the Open University in the UK which has a superb reputation in Europe, but based on my applications I’m beginning to think the distance aspect of my degrees is what is leading to lack of results; though no one has openly stated so.
I have seven years’ teaching experience in Europe, superb references and a CELTA which I would imagine should make me employable.

I’ve read various posts about ‘some’ places not accepting online/distance degrees. Does anyone have any facts that are more substantive? My degrees were very hard won and I don’t believe I am any worse of a teacher because I studied that way, quite the opposite in fact. So it would be sad if it turned out to be the case. It is not all bad news though; I did have one offer which depended on the Saudi side’s acceptance which I decided not to follow through as I was looking for something better. Is it possible they may have overlooked the ‘distance’ problem, or might it have been acceptable to them? I’m just wondering now if that particular offer was an exception.

Feeling rather confused at this stage and wondering if my moving to the Middle East plans are not going to get off the ground. Any information or advice is really appreciated.
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helenl



Joined: 04 Jan 2006
Posts: 1182

PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It may not be the employer but the Ministry of Education that may be the obstacle here. In UAE distance degrees are recognized by the Ministry of Higher Education but not by the Ministry of Education (which is every educational institution that is not tertiary).

One reason for not recognizing the distance parchment in some countries and by some ministries is that there are so many fraudulent parchments out there. Rather than distinguishing between them - they reject all.

Some ministries accept a transcript from some countries' universities sent directly to the employer is acceptable, from other countries, not so much, the degrees have to be attested etc. a time consuming and sometimes relatively expensive process (plus your original parchment is being sent hither and yon to get those attestations).
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stephenbranigan



Joined: 06 Mar 2008
Posts: 15
Location: Poland

PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting! So that would mean I could get a job in a UAE university. I'm curious how it is in other ME countries. Like I said, I was aiming for KSA or maybe Quatar.

Frankly, at the moment I'm going to keep applying to see what happens. What is worrying me though, after reading the odd horror story, is that some recruitment agency without checking with the relevant ministries will hire me, maybe send me over there, and then there'll be a right hullabaloo when someone discovers I don't have the 'right' pieces of paper! I don't want to leave my current job to go through that.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15854
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 2:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Employers' attitudes to reputable distance degrees Reply with quote

stephenbranigan wrote:
I’ve read various posts about ‘some’ places not accepting online/distance degrees. Does anyone have any facts that are more substantive?

This is the Middle East and the "facts" are often shrouded in mystery. Supposedly, distance MAs are not accepted in Saudi, but then a poster pops on tells us that he or she was hired with one. In this part of the world rules are made to be broken... or strictly enforced at random times. Helen1 gave us the situation in the UAE.

All you can do is apply to jobs that you qualify for and see what happens. Getting that first job is always hard. You might try the recruiter positions for the Ministries of Manpower and Education in Oman. A read of the threads on that board will tell you of their on again/off again problems, but it is a foot in the door as they seem to have looser rules.

VS
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9299
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still find this issue bewildering as I personally know at least six Saudi university teachers (Saudi nationals, I mean) whose universities paid for them to do a distance MA at the University of Birmingham, England (at the same time as I was doing my practicuum there, they came for a one-week seminar). Clearly, Saudi authorities recognized the distance MA in these cases!
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millie18



Joined: 23 Oct 2007
Posts: 176

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Key two words being " Saudi Nationals "
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9299
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I guessed as much Very Happy Confused
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stephenbranigan



Joined: 06 Mar 2008
Posts: 15
Location: Poland

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like I said, nobody came out and said it to me. It's just the vibe I've been getting, especially after one angency recruiter asked me "are your degrees online?". It's like the above poster said, they're lumping all distance qualifications into one stereotype.

Do you know which ME countries are likely to have the least restrictions in this area?
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justcolleen



Joined: 07 Jan 2004
Posts: 644
Location: Egypt, baby!

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stephenbranigan wrote:
Do you know which ME countries are likely to have the least restrictions in this area?


Egypt.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3586
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stephenbranigan wrote:
Like I said, nobody came out and said it to me. It's just the vibe I've been getting, especially after one angency recruiter asked me "are your degrees online?". It's like the above poster said, they're lumping all distance qualifications into one stereotype.

True, some ministries of education and higher ed haven't yet gotten with the 21st century when it comes to acknowledging degrees from reputable, accredited institutions of higher learning. Additionally, some employers may be put off because you got both your bachelors and MA degrees via distance learning---that you've never had the "typical" classroom experience, although that shouldn't have any bearing on the quality of your education.

But don't let that stop you from applying to jobs in the region. I'd also suggest emphasizing any major accomplishments and/or special or desirable skills and strengths on your CV to draw potential employers' attention to what you offer as a teacher.
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stephenbranigan



Joined: 06 Mar 2008
Posts: 15
Location: Poland

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all for the very useful information and advice.

Although there doesn't seem to be much hard information out there - perhaps even the recruiters themselves don't know - what I'm going to take from it all is this: There may be some prejudice against my degrees, though there are people who have gained employment with distance qualifications.

I'll take heart from that and keep trying. In the hope that someone with common sense will realise that someone like me who has studied that way may have held down a full-time job whilst studying and needed to utilise the skills of organisation, dedication and motivation much more than your average bricks-and-mortar-attending student would have had to Smile
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