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CEC Network / Higher Colleges of Technology
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Joined: 11 Aug 2004
Posts: 61
Location: Gosford, NSW, Australia.

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 4:05 pm    Post subject: CEC Network / Higher Colleges of Technology Reply with quote

Dear people,
Back in November I noticed there was a recruitment drive to hire around 20 teaches for the 5 higher colleges of technology in Oman (Muscat, Salalah, Nizwa, Al Mussanaa and Ibra)... Prior to this I saw an advert for the same thing in July / August, does anyone know why this sudden request for an extra 20 teachers?? Was there a mass desertion at one or more of these colleges??
Does anyone know anything about the CEC Network and the Higher Colleges of Technology??


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Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17644
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2005 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think that there has been anything new here since the long thread of your last inquiry. I wonder if anyone can do an update. The only poster who had been there really panned his branch.

Likely they just didn't rewrite the ad - plus the fact that not many people want to teach out in the hinterlands.

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Joined: 11 Sep 2004
Posts: 56
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello! Long time reader, first time writer.... I've been in Muscat for a while and all I know is that the Higher Colleges have had a huge increase in enrollment lately so that is certainly one reason for the need for teachers. ON the other hand, there have been plenty of disgruntled folks leaving in the last year but I'm not entirely sure why - probably working under the Ministry of Manpower is often an exercise in frustration...

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Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17644
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ministry of Manpower? Never heard of them. So, they have stripped these colleges from the education ministries? That doesn't sound like a sensible move... added to hiring ESL who has a poor record of managment in Oman already.

Scary scenario.

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Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poorly managed Canadian company that seems more interested in money than the welfare of it's employees. After 6 months the company has yet to procure visas for some it's employees' spouses (as promised) who are now in the country illegally and subject to a couple of thousand dollars in fines for overstaying their visitors visa! Employees are threatened with jail if they want to leave! The wife (not on payroll) of the Canadian manager is constantly meddling in company's affairs. The list goes on. Avoid, Avoid, Avoid.
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Joined: 10 Mar 2005
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:00 am    Post subject: Oman Ministry of Manpower ?? Reply with quote

Here is the Oman job that was advertised...risky?? or an interesting few months ??

Short Term Contracts - Oman (Hits:51)

Location for Work : Middle East, Oman


E-mail: [email protected]
TEL: 4168690541
FAX: -
Address: -
City: Various in Oman
Job Description:

The Oman Ministry of Manpower and the Canadian Education Centre Network are cooperating on a joint venture to bring Canadian ESL Teachers to the Higher Colleges of Technology in Oman. The CEC Network is looking for committed, dedicated, enthusiastic, and adventurous experience teachers to join our existing 120 teachers in Oman to be English instructors.

All teachers must be legally certified to work in Canada.

Please note we are looking for teachers in the following locations only at this time.

Ibra College – 4 Teachers to start immediately
Musanaa College – 1 teacher to start immediately
Salalah College – 3 teachers to start immediately

In all instances teacher contracts will begin from date of arrival in Oman and continue until July 22nd. Teachers will be paid until the end of July with August paid as a pro-rated bonus month

• Bachelor of Arts English or Bachelor of Education (Secondary Preferably)
• Teaching English as a Second Language Certificate
• 3 years TESL or Teaching Experience

• Departure Dates: Immediate
• Employment Term: until end of July 2005 (renewable)
• Total Working Hours: 40-hours per week (including administrative duties)
• Teaching Hours: 18 hours per week in class (45-50 minutes/class)
• School week runs from Saturday through Wednesday
• Student Ages from 18-22 maximum 25 students per class

• Salaries range from Salary OMR 738-784 per month depending on years teaching experience
• Employees who successfully complete their contract will be paid a bonus of up to1 months additional wages based on percentage of teaching year employed.
• Transportation Allowance OMR 55 per month
• There is no income tax in Oman
• Accommodations provided: One-bedroom with private bath and with basic furnishings (employee is responsible for payment of utility bills)
• Round-trip airfare
• Employment visa applied and paid for
• 5-day paid vacation in addition to national and religious holidays

• Passport (valid until Dec 2005)
• Bachelors Degree
• TESL/TEFOL Certificate

Send a covering letter and resume to [email protected] and please specify that you are applying for the “OMAN-HCT”. Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

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Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17644
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am always mixing this place up with Nizwa... anyway. From the post of ESLEddie, it sounds as if it might be 'interesting' for a short term job as per this ad - IF - you are single. Odd schedule... all in the horrible heat of the Omani summer.

One thing I wonder about is whether this CEC is just a hiring agent or if they are actually managing the place. All of the worst hiring situations that I have heard about over the years in Oman have been for teachers hired by outside agents.

I found the accomodation section to be rather odd. You get a bedroom and a bath... ummm.. is that a one bedroom flat?? Or is it a shared flat where you merely get your own bed and bath? Sounds like the latter as otherwise one wouldn't need to mention 'private' bath. Ugh...

It doesn't seem a good sign that they are hiring 'immediate' teachers. That suggests departures and working on illegal visas. Buyer beware...

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Joined: 20 Dec 2004
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 5:05 am    Post subject: CECN: Dubious Canadian Contractors Indeed Reply with quote

Think of CECN as following the George Dubya Bush strategy of rushing boots on the ground from North America to the Middle East ASAP. Step One: round up the troops and ship them to the desert. Step Two: there is no step two.

The analogy is a fair one. Liken it to the war in Iraq where the boots on the ground are commanded by HQs in Doha, Qatar who in turn take their orders from far away Washington, where truckloads of contracting money dictate policy. In the meanwhile those18 year olds, those "boots on the ground " are dodging bullets, RPGs and losing their lives, or friends and or if they're lucky only a limbs or two to IEDs throughout which they have to root through Iraqi garbage dumps to fill their protective needs like armour for their humvees--basically, they are on their own and apparently forgotten.

I don't mean to make light of the tragic situation in Iraq, but the analogy of a disparate, dislocated and severely inconsistent chain of command is a fair one.

There is one project manager in Oman responsible for hundreds of teachers. Think of him as a company sergeant being manhandled by a bunch of inexperienced and callous pin headed brass.

There is a branch in Dubai--like the HQ in Qatar--who is resposnible for paying salaries and handling all logistical support but they tend to put everything on the shoulders of the overworked project manager. and are incredibly patronizing if contacted about some unreasonable complaint like not being paid on time.

Then there are bozos back in Toronto, like the clowns in Washington, who haven't a clue , don't want to see, hear or speak evils and who are beyond a shadow of a doubt interested only in profits. Think Haliburton. Think Dyna Corp. Think Raytheon. Think avarice.

First off, in fairness to the company CECN--and believe me there is no love lost between the company and me--the contract is single status and spouses who are brought in are the employees' responsibilities. This is stated in the contract. It may have been contradicted over the phone interview or in an Email, but the recruiters are about as trustworthy and honorable as pimps.

While it is true that many if not most contractees are brought in on a tourist visas and work for a number of months illegally, tourists visas can be renewed in country at the appropriate ministry or monthly for the price of a bus, taxi or plane hop to Dubai. Therefore, a non-contracted spouse's visa is not the company's responsibility.

Since I intended to join the Ministry of Higher Education in Oman ASAP from the moment I arrived and realized I'd fallen straight into a Pandemonium or an Hieronymus Bosch nightmarish hell
, I refused to give up my passport because if I had received a Manpower minsitry stamp, I would have been ineligible for the better position for up to two years. I paid my own fare for my visa run.

By the way, the company will house the spouse or significant other, partner, your eff buddy--whatever your relationship--with you the contractee--that is to say that "shaclking up" as my dearly departed granny might have said is permitted by the contractor--marriage licenses are not mandatory which is extremely unusual for a Gulf Arab country. Then again, working on a tourist visa is also most definitely illegal so the contractor is walking a tight wire daily as the rake in their contractors' swag.

Also, as for the spouse of the lone project manager--a man I must describe as gentlemanly retired high school principal- with the patience of Job (who incidentally is buried in Oman nee the Biblical land of Uz)-maybe she does meddle in others affairs --I've no experience to back that upbut she also helps her husband without salary handling his unimaginable work load. Chumps or devoted spouses--you decide.

So, consider that CECN is so miserly that only one man (with the help of his "meddlesome" wife) is responsible for all airport pick ups and accommodations drop offs throughout this rather large Gulf country; they are resposible for making sure salaries catch up with people, managing health care cards, handling all visas and gripes big and small. I can only imagine that either this project manager and spouse have a fetish for being abused or perhaps they blew his pension in Vegas and have no choice but to tolerate the abuse (as to the latter I'm joking of course). He does his best working 18 hour days seven days a week and if verbally promsied or contractually obligated benefits are late in materializing, both Toronto and Dubai hands this poor sap a triple decker poo sandwich with all the fixings and slacks off their work.

Mind you there are hundreds of teachers here and maybe a hundred more to come!

Now, in fairness to the Eddie who takes issue with CECN. You betcha by golly--they do not care aboat (about to Americans) the employees up to the point when you sign the contract and arrive in country. At that point, you are pretty much on your own.

I have been told by an Omani insider that for each name on a roster the contractor pays about 840 OR plus housing yet earns upwards to 1,400 Omani Rials per head. Nothing personal--just biness, right? Deal with you. You made the choice to come afterall, n'est ce pas?

They are trying to hire hundreds of teachers--as promised--over a three year period--to comply with the bid they won from the Ministry of Manpower.

Who are your colleagues? The percentage of teachers hired who have multiples of years teaching EFL in a tertiary institution (discounting one or two years at a Korean or Taiwanese language center) or who have proper qualifications such as an MA in TOEFL or an equivalent BA degree plus certification is in the lower single digits at best. One teacher has a BA in something or other--not English, not TOEFL and some experience as a Karate instructor. He's not a bad feller--affable I'd say, but a bit too inexperienced to be handling a position of authority which has somehow been thrusted upon him. Another teacher once taught Sunday school.

The company preys on mid-20 to early 30 somethings, maybe two, three or four years out of university with BAs in ANY field who haven't a clue how things operate in a post-secondary language program, especially not in the gulf, and are unaware of their basic labor rights. Or the company quickly snatches up people who have no ME experience though they might have the qualifications. These folks walk around the mayhem surrealistic world of the technical colleges ticking off the calender days before they can return to Cambodia or Thailand.

Many if not all people step off the plane and are first encamped in small hotel rooms for up to months, working without proper visas, are without proper health care, and earning peanuts by even Omani standards.

Perhaps it beats waiting tables or flipping burgers back in Toronto or it beats living in the shanties of Siem Reap, but experienced Gulf teachers (with Arabian Gulf experience in excess of five years or more with MAs in TOEFL, or something on par should not take this job. You won't be working with peers.

These CECN jobs are 100% hardship postings and if you can tolerate living in Ibra where donkeys often compete with taxis on the main road through town, where the locals still carry knives, and your bath water is trucked in weekly--then fo'get about it--go to Saudi Arabia and earn four times what you'd get here. Modernity has caught up with even remote postings in the kingdom. Not so here. I have three years Saudi experience (single status) yet I lasted less then two months in this hell hole aka "Up The Khyber", Ibra, Oman.

My contract by the way was terminated--not because I was doing a bad job; in fact, I walked away with a glowing letter of recommendation from my academic director who was actually put off by the contractor for firing one of his most experienced teachers. He also wasn't aware his staff is here only temproraily and many are planning on bidding M'salama in July.

The reason for my termination--a couple of reasons perhaps:
A. I walked point on getting newcomers their first pay checks,

B. I took the lead on turning down sub-standard non-western housing;

C. I demanded the company live up to their promise to reimburse me for my flight. This flight cost by the way has been taken from my final pay pro rata.

D. I had given notice that I am off to work another job, one more suited to my experience and qualifications and for considerably more money in May. I wanted to finish the semester though because that is the right thing to do and it wouldn't have taken a familiar face out of the classroom in mid-term--essentially, I cared about my students.
The contractor however did the math and figured they'd save a few quid by sacking me now. Why find proper housing for someone who is leaving?

And again, to be fair, I was given one month's severance plus 9 days so basically I'm out only two weeks pay, I have a month off with pay and am now in a position to take my new position earlier. .

Still, it does indicate how much this contracting company cares about the college and students not to mention the employee.

You are chattel--a name on a roster back in Toronto that gets submitted monthly to the Manpower ministry who then sends back to Toronto a fat check.

The proverbial bottom line--this is an entry level for single 20 or 30 somethings with minimal teaching experience; it does beat working in a hagwan in Korea; it gets your feet wet in the Middle East, and if you are the outsdoorsy type there is plenty to do on the weekends.


If you are experienced, and they offer you a position in Muscat (as they promised me) and if you have a legitimate spouse--marriage license and all that jazz as I do, and if your wife can find work by transferring within her company from Kuwait to Muscat as we planned to do--, then be prepared for a sudden change to some dung hole like bra (I had 36 hours notice that I and my wife were not afterall and as promsied via interview and a non-binding Email, going to Muscat so basically it was for me--darling, call the packers and cancel, call off your job transfer, I'll see you as soon as I can. I had no choice at the time but to come here and earn a salary) However as an old Gulf Arabian hand, do as I did whatever your situation is (perhaps like many you are willing to work for less for the opportunity to teach Omanis, some of the nicest and most congenial young people in the region. BUT don't come here without an emergency back-up job. Anyone. Oh, and don't give notice. when you plan to leave unless you plan on biting a pillow and spreading your bum cheeks. This professional courtesy isn't respected.

As any experienced Gulf Arab teacher knows, contracts are meaningless and one should never accept a position without another offer or two on hold. This has always worked for me.
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Joined: 20 Apr 2004
Posts: 548

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ibra is, actually, quite a nice town.
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Joined: 20 Dec 2004
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 8:52 am    Post subject: Ibra: a nice place to raise your kids (young goats) Reply with quote

Hector. So is Jeddah. So is Dammam. So is Taif. Hell, Hitler's Eagle Nest was rather posh.

C'mon then--tell us what you like about it? People may decide to take the contract and get strranded here in a 2 star motel for mutliples of months.

As any experienced English writing teacher might say: please provide us with details.
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Stephen Jones

Joined: 21 Feb 2003
Posts: 4124

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hell, Hitler's Eagle Nest was rather posh.
They've just opened a branch of the Intercontinental Hotel chain there. Some Jewsih groups claim this is in bad taste. As they never raised a peep whilst the US army used it as a private ski resort for 50 years one has to wonder why Germans having fun ithere s so much worse than Americans doing so.
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Joined: 14 Mar 2005
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 3:49 am    Post subject: cec in oman is a nightmare Reply with quote

the cec operation in oman is unimagineably poorly managed. there are more disgruntled teachers here than i have encountered in nine years of esl teaching. everyone is lied to and there is no infrastructure to voice any concerns.

getting out is a high priority for most teachers here. i would suggest you waste no time trying to get in.
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Joined: 01 Feb 2004
Posts: 79

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everything that Zaytuni had to say about them, a friend of mine (Canadian) also said before she hit the ground running. She, however, also had sexual harrassment to deal with - no support whatsoever was given to her, even although the other female teachers (Indian) were having the same problems but needed their jobs too much to complain.

I would give the same advice - avoid at all costs.

All the best,
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Joined: 21 Oct 2004
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 8:09 am    Post subject: Re: Ibra: a nice place to raise your kids (young goats) Reply with quote

zaytuni wrote:
Hector. So is Jeddah. So is Dammam. So is Taif. Hell, Hitler's Eagle Nest was rather posh.

Are you (edited by moderator)?

Just curious.
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Joined: 05 May 2004
Posts: 74

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avoid the CEC at all costs.

How can the CEC justify such a low salary, when you are also expected to buy a car to get around?

They will also offer you a 1 year contract, but Canadians will get hit with having to pay Canada's extreme income tax, if they are not out of the country working on a 2 year contract. This is given the assumption that you can actually get the CEC to answer your questions.

Just another Canadian recruiting scam? Seems a lot have started after 9/11. What's going on in this country? Who are these people? Beware.
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