Teacher certification in Saudi Arabia key to raising education standards
Teachers in most countries around the world are licensed and regulated by either their education ministry or its counterpart depending on which country or state they are working in.
This is done to ensure that their training and competence meet the preset standard measure of the ministry/state. Furthermore, the teachers are required to maintain their license through an ongoing program of personal educational development. Each country has its own standards and certification requirements.
Earlier this month Saudi Arabia introduced a teacher certification license along with a new salary structure that can only be obtained if an individual passes certain criterion as well as the exam for the license. As I always say, better late than never.
We finally have a teacher certification in Saudi Arabia that will help to raise the standards of our educational system, as teachers are at the core of the education our students are exposed to.
In recent Saudi news, some teachers have voiced their concerns over how failure to obtain this certification can impact on their annual salary increase.
To be honest this shocked me. As a mother and educator, our children’s education comes first and foremost. If tutors do not pass the exams or gain the observation ratings required for the teachers’ license, then why should they get an automatic yearly pay rise? Where is the motivation to work harder and help students learn more or be creative in their teaching style?
Long gone are the days of memorization and regurgitation for the exams. We are asked to work outside of the box in our jobs, so why are we asking our students to stay inside the box for their education?
I am sure that this does not mean that our teachers are only motivated by money; although coming from a researcher in the field of anxiety and motivation, that is not a bad thing per se.
We are all different human beings motivated by different things. No one is better than the other. The main thing is that we all meet our objectives and fulfill our desire, be it money or recognition.
The end result that I think we, as educators and parents, can agree on, is to make education fun and interesting in order for the students to continue learning and be engaged. That is what our ultimate goal should be.
Having said that, the Saudi Ministry of Education must provide change management for all its teachers. The natural reflex toward anything new is to resist. Change is rarely welcomed even if deep down we know that it is needed. The fear of the unknown comes into play.
In the end, teachers are not the only important element in our children’s education. There are other aspects that are still being worked on in the Saudi Ministry of Education, for example purpose-built schools all over the Kingdom, class overcrowding, curriculum update, and school transportation. The ministry has its hands full, but we can all agree that it is taking big steps in the right direction.
• Dr. Taghreed Al-Saraj is a best-selling Saudi author, an international public speaker and an entrepreneurship mentor.