Joined: 24 Jun 2014
|Posted: Sat Jul 05, 2014 6:48 pm Post subject: BEWARE of Djibouti - Oxford International Academy.
|This is a warning for any teachers considering employment with Oxford International Academy in Djibouti. Unfortunately, this company gives credence to the negative African stereotypes created by fake beneficiary emails and piracy scare tactics that rely on deception and trapping those who trust one at their word. This company is one to be avoided at all costs.
Within the first two weeks of my arrival when I questioned inconsistencies and untruths in relation to living arrangements, school calendar and scheduling, transportation, and pay / contract details, both directors laughed as they explained that they told me what I needed to hear to get me here. It’s not lying, it’s business. They admitted most of what they tell teachers is untrue but feel it is a fair part of the recruitment game.
You will not get paid what your contract says you will get paid; you will get less, often significantly less. You will not get the holiday days your contract says you are entitled to; you will either not be “allowed” to take them or they will deduct a percentage from your pay claiming that holiday days paid aren’t equivalent to working days paid. You will be forced to pay over $50 a month for an obligatory health insurance, of which you cannot access should you require medical care. You will be expected to pay for a range of unexpected items such as basic living supplies which they say they provide but don’t, inflated utility prices, classroom/stationery necessities, photos for various documentation, etc. In addition to these unexpected costs, the relatively high cost of living in Djibouti can leave you paying out of your own pocket to work here.
The school stopped paying for teachers’ residency cards, even though it is a condition in the contract and a legality of working in the country. You will be expected to teach classes both morning and night, from 8:30am to 12:30pm then again from 5pm – 9pm five or even six days a week. Overtime is sometimes paid, sometimes not. The lies and deception were daily from small things like yes, another teacher is coming soon, to telling teachers that the school was in dire straits and in danger of closing any day in order to convince teachers to work on their days / time off. Your signed contract is worthless as there is no one to turn to when they breach conditions. They know this and take full advantage of it.
Security is becoming an increasing concern in the area, with a suicide bombing happening less than a 10 minute walk from the school, yet the directors have taken no precautions to ensure teacher safety. Despite increased security measures in place in all areas of the city, there is no security at the school. Teachers are still expected to work after dark (when the government advises that foreigners, the identified targets, exhibit extreme caution while out in public) and have to take public transportation while the directors travel back and forth in the company vehicle.
Despite their logo of “global opportunities for local people”, the managers make it clear that the school is not interested in the ‘average’ Djiboutian. Their humble act is a front as they attempt to play on heart strings or soft spots in teachers looking to help an impoverished country. They only want corporate contracts as they think there is bigger money to be made yet they lack what is needed to offer appropriate corporate training and lost several opportunities to provide services for big contracts due to their negligence and apathy. When they brought in an expat expert to teach them how to run various business courses and get their company up and running, they dismissed all suggestions and guidance and carried on as usual. The school, when it had run out of teachers, had to outright cancel classes at a PET (Cambridge) / Access (City & Guilds) level as the Academic Director stated he was not able to teach the material.
There is a honeymoon period which I both experienced and observed when new teachers arrive however it does not last long. The two directors are both very good at playing the good guy, the nice guy, the struggling business man trying to give back to his community but it quickly becomes clear that they are unqualified, self-serving, deceptive, and focused solely on money yet lack the ability to offer simple ESL education or run a company.
Teachers leave shortly after they arrive due to dishonest, incompetent, and inconsistent behavior displayed by these men. Djiboutian students are often eager and discipline is not an issue however if you are interested in education in a developing country, choose another option. This unprofessional, image-based scam is a front for men who do not want to work but want to be patted on the back for their perceived contribution to society.
Please feel free to personal message me for specific examples or details of any of the above situations mentioned.