Schools in Dangerous Locales, 2019/2020

October 31, 2019


You may have noticed Administrators have a high tolerance for dangerous locales and an uncanny ability to downplay the severity of specific events, especially when they’re trying to sell you on why you should come to their school. This makes it paramount that you verify their pro-country sales pitch.

Massive protests, terrorism, crippling embargoes, strikes, street crimes and natural disasters are on the rise worldwide. Only days ago (Oct., 2019) one million Chileans took to the streets in a massive demonstration over inequality, high cost of living and privatization. At least 18 persons were killed and hundreds shot and/or wounded. In Uruguay, sixty thousand people organized (Oct., 2019) to protest an initiative to create a military police force that many say would be a step back toward dictatorship. A Google search will reveal many more incidences of concern, Hong Kong being a prime example.

Locations deemed safe and stable can, and do, suddenly erupt. Just because we are visitors in a foreign land does not make us exempt from the consequences of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Are you currently teaching in a location you feel to be unsafe or that is soon to become such? ISR encourages you to share first-hand knowledge with colleagues planning to recruit this season. Let’s help each other avoid unrevealed and unforeseen dangerous situations.

International Schools Review is all about
International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed!

Please scroll down to participate in this discussion.
Feel free to pose questions about specific locations.


Hong Kong Update

October 10, 2019

An ISR Member Asks:  Can ISR subscribers offer some first-hand information on the current situation for expat teachers living in Hong Kong? 

I’ve been following the protests and looking at all the Hong Kong-based teaching positions flooding job sites. It’s looking like teachers are leaving Hong Kong in droves…

Would it be foolish to accept a position there for the next school year, or has the media made the situation look far worse than it really is?

Any first-hand information would be well appreciated by me and, I’m sure, other educators contemplating Hong Kong for a career move.

Many Thanks in advance.

Please scroll to participate in this Discussion


Has America Become TOO Dangerous for Me?

August 15, 2019

Dear Team ISR,

I’ve been struggling with the idea of accepting a position at a French International School in the United States of America. What’s stopping me? I’m afraid America has become far too dangerous.

I attended university in America and cherish the opportunity to return. However, following the Dayton and El Paso mass shootings, which brings the total number of such incidents in America up to 255 this year (by August 5th), I’m thinking that returning to America could be a fatal mistake, especially for a foreigner woman of color, like me.

When I think about the tragic school shootings at Sandy Hook, Parkland and Charlotte (to name a few), I know I would never feel truly safe at school. My friends say I must be crazy to even think about living in America these days. My parents point out that it appears the police have taken a “shoot first, ask questions later” approach when it comes to black folks in America. They emphasize they also see little consequences (if any) for police brutality against minorities. Add to that a renewed presence of the KKK along with their open support of the current American president, and life seems too treacherous in the U.S. right now.

Maybe I’m overthinking this! Maybe I’m overreacting! Perhaps I’ve fallen victim to sensationalist news reporting? I’ve seen incidents in other countries grossly misinterpreted as reported by news networks with “an agenda.” I sadly don’t think this is the case in America at this time.

If you would distribute my comments in your weekly newsletter and open up this topic to your readers, I would sincerely appreciate it. Hearing their perspective and advice would be of benefit to me and other educators of color who have America on their radar for an overseas teaching position.

My Best Regards to the staff at ISR,
Joan

PS. Thank you for your good work. Keep it up. So many of us depend on you!


Jewish Educators in the Middle East

February 1, 2018

Long before the turmoil we’re witnessing today in the Middle East, I was offered a teaching position at the International School of Aleppo, Syria. As a history buff, I was totally on-board by the prospect of exploring the vibrant cultures and history of the region. But….What would life be like for a Jewish teacher living in Syria?

The recruiter was upfront with answers to my questions: I would be exposed to anti-Semitic remarks from students who use the term “Jew,” accompanied by derogatory expletives. I should keep my Jewish heritage secret. If I decided to travel to Israel, my stamped passports could bar me from re-entering Syria. Common sense and prudence said loud and clear: Don’t go!

Today, in my position (as Moderator of the ISR Forum), I was intrigued by this recent thread:

Anyone have experience with being Jewish in the ME?

Postby ap410 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:07 pm
I’m considering applying for positions at a few schools in the ME (Bahrain, UAE, and possibly Oman), but I’m concerned that since my children and I are Jewish, we could run into trouble, hostilities, etc. We’re not super religious, but my kids have a habit of singing the Dreidel song in December, and I don’t want them to feel like they have to hide their religion. Does anyone have experience with this in the ME? Thanks!

.My first reaction was, ‘Are you kidding!?’ My opportunity was pre-9/11. What could it be like today for a Jew teaching in the Middle East? International Schools do tend to promote diversity, tolerance, inclusion, equality and a host of Mission Statement ideals. But … as we all know, life can be quite different outside that supposed safe haven.

Here’s some positive and negative Forum Comments that illustrate the dilemma…

by reisgio » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:12 pm  For goodness sake, don’t take your innocent Jewish children to the Middle East!… I wouldn’t be comfortable having my children basically hide their identities just so I could work somewhere exotic. What’s wrong with you?

by justlooking » Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:35 am This has not been my experience working in four international schools in the ME in Egypt, Oman, Morocco, and Dubai. All the schools were top tier with a very international student body. I found most people respect Judaism and Jews; it’s Israel that’s the problem. As long as you’re not espousing pro-Israeli sentiment, you’ll be left alone.

by Nomad68 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:54 pm I really would not recommend going to places like Saudi, Kuwait or Qatar even if you hid your Jewish identity. The anti-Jewish sentiments would shock you.

 by shadowjack » Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:45 pm 7 years in Saudi. Our Saudi friends had Jewish neighbours and didn’t care.” “Israel is not a good country.” They knew the difference between the two, that’s for sure….

 My purpose in calling attention to this topic is to hopefully encourage ISR Members to initiate a place where my Jewish brothers and sisters can turn to for first-hand information on what it’s really like for a Jewish International Educator to live and teach in the Middle East, a decision clearly not to be taken lightly.

Have an experience or information to share?

Please scroll down to participate


7 Nations Close Borders with Qatar

June 8, 2017

A sudden turn of events may adversely affect International Educators planning to, or currently working in Qatar and the surrounding region:

Monday, June 5 – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Libya, Yemen and the Maldives collectively cut diplomatic ties with Qatar. Citizens of these countries have been banned from traveling to Qatar, living there, or traveling through the country. Citizens of the aforementioned countries have 14 days to leave. The UAE and Egypt gave Qatari diplomats 48 hours to leave. Middle Eastern airlines are canceling all routes to Qatar. The participating 7 nations have closed their airspace, along with land and sea borders with Qatar.

Qatar has long been accused of backing militant groups, including so-called Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaeda, which Qatar denies. It is believed that wealthy individuals in Qatar have made donations to terrorists and the government has given money and weapons to hard-line Islamic groups in Syria. Qatar is also accused of having links to a group formerly known as the Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate. The countries closing their borders with Qatar say they are doing so for security reasons.

While the US, UK and other Western nations have not levied actions against Qatar, the consequences of the 7 participating nations is sure to have an effect on teachers from every nation working in the region.

To discuss the significance of these events in relation to living/teaching in Qatar & the Gulf region in general, please Scroll down to participate.

For more information:
BBC  News
Aljazeera News
The Hill

 


Escape Plan in Place?

May 18, 2017

..  Do you have an evacuation plan ready to implement should it become necessary to make a quick escape due to political or social upheaval in your current country of residence? Many International Educators I know are under the impression their school will take charge in such a situation and fly them to safety. Disconcertingly, a majority of international schools have no such evacuation plan in place–it’s every man for himself.

Believing your embassy will take care of you if an emergency exit becomes necessary can lead to a false sense of security. At least, that’s been my experience as an American living abroad. Following 9/11, the entire staff of the American embassy in Lahore, Pakistan was the very first to jump ship. The same was true in Guatemala after a military overthrow of the government. In the D.R. Congo, military/rebels could easily shut down the only road to the airport, requiring a seriously strong Plan B.

The American embassy serves primarily as an information and advisory body. Its recommendation is that if a crisis arises, US citizens should make plans to leave on a commercial carrier. In the event it does becomes necessary for the US embassy to organize an evacuation, Americans are required to sign a promissory note saying they will cover the of cost their flight “on a reimbursable basis to the maximum extent practicable.” So much for putting my US tax money to good use!

My school in Pakistan took responsibility for getting us out soon after 9/11. They set the staff up with a travel agent and covered the cost of our exit flights. In Guatemala, with military tanks in the streets, helicopters patrolling and radio/TV/phone communication shut down, we were on our own. This school had previously offered no support for anything, so we had no reason to believe things would change in an emergency. The director lived just doors from me. He was unavailable.

The speed and regularity at which the global-political climate is changing can suddenly make a country that was relatively safe when you arrived a hot-spot to be avoided. Believing/hoping that your school or embassy is willing/able to take care of you in an emergency could be putting all your ‘safety’ eggs in one basket. A good question for a director while recruiting could be: “What’s your plan, if necessary, for an emergency evacuation?”

ISR Asks: Does your school have an emergency evacuation plan in place? If so, how practical is it, and is there a solid Plan B? Have you created a personal plan for yourself and your family just in case you find yourself on your own?


Hesitant to Leave Home?

July 14, 2016

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With the recent rash of terror attacks, more than a handful of International Educators are reconsidering their decision to teach overseas. France, Belgium, Indonesia, United States, Turkey, Tunisia and other formerly “safe spots” have now taken a place on the “proceed with caution” list.

The possibility of finding yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time is about as likely as winning the lottery. Still, any increased exposure to the possibility of terror is enough to keep some of us home. In a previous ISR Survey, 360 of the 698 International Educator respondents said the attacks on France and Brussels were not deterrents, and they would continue to live their lives as always while taking the normal precautions one would in any city at home or abroad.

ISR asks: Has the most recent barrage of terror attacks caused you to reassess International Teaching as a career? Take our short Survey and see what International Educators have to say on this topic.


Would You Still Teach in Western Europe?

April 7, 2016

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The world as we knew it just a few years ago has drastically changed. Locations once considered tourist destinations and desirable haunts for expats now top the list of places to avoid. That is, if you value your safety.

In light of the tragic attacks that recently took place in Paris and Brussels, ISR asks: Would you accept a teaching position in this area of the world if it was offered? For educators currently teaching in Western Europe: Will the threat of continued terrorism deter you from renewing your contract when it expires?

The staff at ISR concur that there are locations in the world where we once felt far safer teaching and living than if we had been in our home cities of the West. We agree we would be hard-pressed to return to some of these once tranquil areas of the world due to the current and ever-present threat of terrorism, war and/or political revolution.

As a long time, highly desirable International Teaching destination, is Western Europe making its way onto the list of places to avoid? Take our short Survey  below:

Comments?


Schools In Dangerous Locales

November 13, 2014

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    In response to our previous article, What Would it Take?, ISR asked international educators to weigh-in on the topic of salary packages attractive enough to get you to overcome your resistance to work in a country previously on your ‘no-go, no-way, no-how’ list of places to work.

     Signing on to a school in a local that doesn’t meet your criteria for language, geographical location, political and social outlook is one thing. But when rampant crime and the potential to get hurt are a very real possibility, that’s an entirely new ball game

     Of course we all have a different tolerance for dangerous situations and some people seem to thrive on danger. One thing I’ve noticed for certain is that school directors seem to have the highest tolerance for such situations and can even make light of them, especially when they are trying to sell me on their school.

     Lets stay safe and help each other avoid unforeseen dangerous situations. We’ve started a list of Crime Ridden Locations and encourage you to add locations and personal experiences. International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed is what ISR is All About!

We’ve started off the conversation with excerpts from ISR  School Reviews, Forum and Blog posts from ISR members and site visitors:  We invite your comments:

Venezuela

It’s not safe to go out after dark, and during the day most people keep their phones hidden and carry “rob money” just in case. 

My friends have been robbed in so many different parts of the city at any hour of the day.

When I walk outside, or when I take the bus or even when I take a taxi, I am always alert. I know who is behind me at all times and constantly taking precautions no matter what I am doing.

A young college student in my guarded condo complex was robbed at gunpoint at the bus stop right outside our gate.

I was only robbed once and it was only for some small change. I consider myself lucky.

I worked there for years and left because I knew too many people who had been shot, kidnapped, or had their homes robbed at gunpoint. No one is safe there anywhere, especially not if you’re a Gringo!

My wife was mugged and I was nearly gunned down just outside of our flat. And we lived in a rather posh area.

Bratislava

I was robbed twice in 4 months! If you go there you will regret it.

Philippines

I had two people pull a gun on me, and one was just outside a mall. So it is dangerous enough, and even more so if you were actually involved with drugs.

D. R. Congo

They broke in and tied up the teacher. Then they ram shackled the house and took everything of value. She wasn’t hurt and her maid found her still on the floor with her hands and feet bound with rope.

Ecuador

When my husband left the bank the teller must have had accomplices waiting outside because at the first traffic light he was approached by two men with guns. He had no choice but to let him in. They had him drive to a secluded area and tied him up in the back seat. Then they used the car to rob two houses. They left him tied up in the back seat of the car and fled. This sort of crime is not uncommon here.

Guatemala

About half the expats I know have been mugged/held up at gunpoint/pick-pocketed etc. But the number of ways in which your personal freedom is curtailed in societies like these gets old

When they can’t get ring off your finger they will cut off the finger. These robberies happened on the city busses. Don’t wear jewelry and if you do, make sure you can get it off.

Please scroll down to post


What Would it Take?

November 6, 2014

calculator6923345There’s more than a few places in this world where many of us would not be willing to live & teach. I had my reasons for wanting to avoid Pakistan, but the salary/package was so attractive I could hardly say YES fast enough. I loved Pakistan & my bank account literally grew exponentially. The Congo wasn’t on the top of my list, either, but the package was so absolutely alluring I couldn’t say NO, and again, I banked a ton of moohla & got in some outstanding travel adventures.

When I did finally land a job at my top-pick school, I took a 60% pay cut for the “privilege” of working there. It wasn’t long before I started to feel I was being taken advantage of, especially since the cost of living was far, far from cheap. I went from banking thousands a month to putting away a measly few hundred, if I was lucky. As a trade-off, I had completely derailed my progress towards financial security.

While money isn’t my top priority, it’s an important factor considering international teachers have no pension plans like teachers I know back home. So, while I want to see the world & live internationally, I do need to continue planning for the future.

Would I go back to Pakistan today? How about Kuwait, Liberia, or Egypt? From the comfort of my desk I will say NO. But, sitting across from a recruiter & in the excitement of the moment, bolstered by the promise of a great salary? I have the feeling I would say YES!

I think it’s fair to say we all have a figure in our head of what constitutes a great salary. Of the places in the world where you would not be willing to live & teach, what sort of salary/package would it take to get you to change YOUR mind?

Name your place & package:


Staffing Problem in Hot Spot

July 17, 2014

Dear Dr. Spilchuk,
I would like to get your professional advice on a ‘catch-22’ situation. In fact, I recently built a state-of-the-art Grammar school in a small city of Pakistan. I intend to hire one Principal, two Administrators (Entry Level) and two English teachers from abroad, and advertised in different newspapers. However, all the interested candidates are very much concerned about the security of Pakistan. I tried to the best of my ability to convince them that the city where the school is located is very peaceful and people are friendly and there is no security problem. Furthermore, the school building has been made in such a way that it fulfills all the requirements (e.g if you close 3 main gates of the building then nobody can enter into the school building.) If it is possible, please check the website http://www.kgs-kamalia.com for further information.

In conclusion, please help me in this matter.

Regards,

Makhdoom Nazar Hussain
Tel: 0333-4225259 / Off Tel: 042-36665077
makhdoomhussain@live.com

…………………..

Hello Makhdoom Nazar Hussein
I can certainly understand the concern of the ex-Pat teachers you have been in discussion with already in accepting a contract to teach in Pakistan at this time. World news does not encourage ex-Pats to travel and/or work in Pakistan. One of our staff members lived and taught in Lahore from 1999 – 2001 and absolutely loved it. In general, the world changed since then and I can understand teachers’ hesitation.

Here are some things you can offer to encourage Western Administrators and teachers to come to your school.
 
1. Offer a strongly competitive pay package.
2. Include housing in a secure area in the package
3. Include medical insurance in the package
4. Include professional development funds/opportunities in the package
5. Include flights for immediate family members to and from Pakistan as well as on land transportation to your small city in the package
6. Include free school registration for children of the administrators/teachers you recruit in the package
7. Include a clear and comprehensive evaluation plan that includes immediate land and air evacuation for the administrators/teachers and their families, paid for by the school in the event of hostility, in the package
8. Offer serious prospective teachers the opportunity to travel to your city in advance of signing a contract to check out the security and safety situation for themselves, prepaid by the school. (At their expense but reimbursed upon the commencement of work, either in full or partially)
9. Be open to other individual clause negotiations with potential administrators/staff
 
Note: Our ISR staff member reports that his contract in Pakistan included all of the above, except #8. The contract additionally included a vehicle provided by the school.
 
It is very difficult for me to carte blanche support International teachers traveling to teach in Pakistan without seeing the situation myself. An additional suggestion I would make to you is for you to offer to bring an executive member of ISR or a teacher recruitment agency to your city in Pakistan to observe firsthand the situation. From that experience he/she might be able to report on the safety of the location, with some credibility, to the international teaching body.
 
Best of luck to you,
 
Dr. Barbara Spilchuk
Online Teacher Consultant
International Schools Review
 
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Do You Have Anything to Add In Regards to Dr. Spilchuk’s Advice – Particularly Point #9 Above? 

Word From Teachers in Ukraine

March 6, 2014

Dr. Spilchuk (ISR On Line Teacher Consultant) normally hears from teachers living in countries that fall into conflict. The British International School Kyiv, Kiev International School & Pechersk School, among others, employ expats. Unfortunately, the situation in Ukraine appears to be escalating yet Dr. Spilchuk reports she has received no correspondences & worries for the safety of expats in the area. If you are currently in Ukraine, or have heard from friends of family teaching in the country, please visit the Ukraine Blog to share information with colleagues.


A Story of Deportation – by Dr. Spilchuk

February 27, 2014

tourist-visa44486779..Dr. Spilchuk, International Schools Review On Line Teacher Advisor, periodically publicizes her interactions with teachers.  She does this so other International Educators can learn from their colleagues experiences and thus make informed decisions along their career paths. Dr. Spilchuk counseled the “deported” teacher in this article. She has omitted the teacher’s name and the name of the school for the teacher’s security.

This is my story:

“I was placed in the detention area of immigration in the Kuwaiti airport and questioned by immigration officials. I was then placed in the hands of ground services. About 9 hours later, ground services  Read more…

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Arrest of India’s U.S. Deputy Consul Brings Repercussions for American Teachers in India

December 26, 2013

police29853509Americans teaching in India’s International schools may soon feel strong repercussions from the arrest, strip search and jailing of India’s Deputy Consul General, Devyani Khobragade, by New York police. Mrs. Khobragade has been charged with creating false documents, falsifying a visa application and mistreating her domestic servant. She claimed to be paying her Indian maid $4200 monthly when in fact she was paying her $3.31 an hour.

The Indian government claims the manner in which the arrest was carried out is inhumane and barbaric. In response, they have revoked all diplomatic privileges for American Embassy personnel and removed protective barriers protecting the U.S. embassy. The Indian government says it will now examine what the American Embassy pays its Indian help and how much domestic help is paid by U.S. government Diplomats. It was also announced that India plans to review the salaries, bank accounts and tax status of all American teachers working in International Schools throughout the country.

In response to India’s claims of mistreatment, the U.S. Attorney’s office concurs that the diplomat was “fully searched by a female Deputy Marshal — in a private setting” It was further clarified that the search is “standard practice for every defendant, rich or poor, American or not, in order to make sure that no prisoner keeps anything on his person that could harm anyone, including himself.”

The attorney’s office reports that agents arrested Mrs. Khobragade in the most discreet way possible, and unlike most defendants she was not handcuffed. The office maintains the diplomat was extended courtesies that go well beyond what others receive, such as allowing her to sit in a squad car and use her cell phone to arrange for child care for her children. They claim to have even delivered coffee to her. A New York based organization, Safe Horizon, representing the maid, has disclosed that she is in the U.S. under ‘Continued Presence’, a temporary immigration status for victims of human trafficking.

Indian diplomats seem most incensed by the strip search procedure. In retaliation, one angry diplomat has called for the revocation of visas issued to the LGBT partners of American embassy employees, followed by a jail sentence for being in contempt of Indian law.

It appears both countries have, up-to-now, followed a policy of turning a blind eye to each others’ practices. The arrest of Deputy Council Khobragade has obviously severed that unspoken agreement.

Comments? How will this incident affect recruiting?
Please Scroll Down to Post


Philippines School Information Exchange

November 21, 2013

typhoon12116309Many International Educators are searching for information on the status of colleagues who were teaching in the Philippines when typhoon Yolanda hit. Additionally, teachers who have been recruited to teach in the Philippines in the upcoming school year have questions about the future of their  schools.

Focusing on the possible loss of a job is certainly trivial when compared to the magnitude of the catastrophic events that took place in the Philippines. ISR in no manner means to diminish in any way the tragedy that took place, however, for teachers whose livelihood is their job, this is a topic that merits attention.

To ask questions and share information with colleagues on all topics related to the Philippines Typhoon incident,  please scroll down to post.

Click here to visit web site of
International School Manilla, Philippines,
and contribute to their relief efforts

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Turmoil in The Islamic World

September 20, 2012

..Massive protests cause turmoil for expat teachers
..throughout Islamic world:

“Fury over an anti-Islam film spread across the Muslim world last week. At least four people — all protesters — were killed and dozens were wounded in the demonstrations in more than 20 countries from the Middle East to Southeast Asia. Most were peaceful but they turned violent in several nations, presenting challenges for the leaders who came to power in the Arab Spring.

Protesters set fire to the American School adjacent to the embassy compound and prevented firefighters from approaching it. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the school in Tunis was badly damaged and is now ‘unusable.”

How are you, your family and school administration faring in these troubling times? Is your school sending teachers home or out of the country? How are local people, such as your home neighbors, reacting to you as a foreigner? What changes have become necessary for additional security? Is there some way we, your colleagues, can help? Please add your comments below.


Great News for International Teachers in Indonesia!

February 23, 2012

In response to our posting titled “Teaching in Indonesia May Be OUT Next Year, we have received reassuring information showing the new legislation may not apply to what most of us classify as an International School. Bruce Ferres, Principal at Australian International School – Indonesia, has supplied ISR with information that points to some gray areas in the bill, to which we were not privy. Apparently, true international schools such as British International School (BIS), Jakarta International School (JIS) and the Australian International School (AIS), to name a few, may not be subject to the new regulations.

——————————————————————

Following is important information about the new Indonesian legislation as supplied to ISR  by Bruce Ferres , Principal Australian International School  – Indonesia

..The Indonesian Government has, in recent years, attempted to regulate the proliferation of independent private schools, International schools and National Plus schools all of which offer alternative programs to regular local government schools.

..The first attempt to lay down a regulatory framework in respect of all non-standard government schools in recent times was Regulation 18, 2009. This was followed with Regulation 17, 2010 and together they set out categories of schools and for each category the manner in which they ought to be organized and other licensing criteria.

..National Plus schools are government schools that teach an international curriculum (e.g. IB, Cambridge) alongside the local standard Education Department curriculum. These schools can charge fees and although mostly attended by the children of wealthier Indonesians they also enroll the children of expatriates. Most of their teachers are local Indonesians but they employ a significant number of expatriate teachers and often have an expatriate Head of School or Principal. Nowhere in either regulation is there any suggestion that these schools be now called International Schools.

..A large number of small independent private schools have been established in the last decade and by using the word “international” in their title attempted to disguise the fact that they were poorly resourced, often employed unqualified teachers and charged gullible parents exorbitant fees. These are the schools that will, correctly in my view, be most adversely affected by the new regulations because they will not be able to meet the new accreditation and quality assurance requirements.

..This brings us to the genuine International Schools such as the British International School (BIS), Jakarta International School (JIS) and the Australian International School (AIS) to name just a few. These schools were established as foundations under the Ministry of Justice and have for many years now been providing a quality international education. The vast majority (80%) of their teachers and students are expatriates but they also educate a number of Indonesian nationals and employ a number of Indonesian teachers.

..One of the difficulties posed by Regulation 18, 2009 and Regulation 17, 2010 is that these genuine International schools do not readily fit into any of the categories of school described by the regulations. These schools have been working together with the authorities to address this dilemma and high level talks are currently in progress aimed at amending the wording or agreeing to interpretations that would minimize the impact. Even without an immediate resolution it is simply not true that all International Schools will be called Foreign Schools. In fact, in the unlikely event that current talks do not resolve the current dilemma, most genuine International Schools would more easily fit into a category known as a “Joint Education Unit” but this would not have any impact on the name of the school.

..The new regulations do not prevent Indonesian nationals from attending these schools as long as Civics, Religion and Bahasa Indonesia is taught as a part of the curriculum, they continue to sit the National Examinations and other requirements are met. Some schools will find creative ways of blending this into their program others might choose not to enroll Indonesian nationals.

..The genuine International Schools will continue to employ expatriate teachers to deliver programs and subjects accredited by the IBO, Cambridge, BSSS and other internationally recognized curricula. The claim that expatriate teachers will be confined to teaching English or ESL is nonsense.

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You may contact Bruce directly at bruce.ferres@ais-indonesia.com with  questions and concerns or, better yet, post them here so we can all stay up-to-date. We have asked Bruce will monitor this blog and answer questions.


Teaching in Indonesia May Be Out Next Year!

February 16, 2012

In 2013 an alarming education policy will take effect in Indonesia. The new legislation, Peraturan Pemerintah Republik Indonesia Nomor 17 tahun 2010, has far-reaching implications for international educators wishing to teach in Indonesia. Here are the basics of the legislation as explained to ISR:

1. “National Plus Schools” [nat’l curriculum + internat’l curriculum, eg: Cambridge] will now be called “International Schools.” This means that for every foreign teacher there must be 3 local Indonesian teachers. Foreign teachers will only be allowed to teach English and NOthing more, as all other subjects will be taught by locals.

2. Schools currently called “International Schools” will become “Foreign Schools.” NO Indonesian citizens will be allowed to attend these schools.

It appears international teachers in Indonesia will be relegated to teaching ESL. If this bill affects your plans, please join us here on the Indonesia Education Legislation Blog to share information and ideas on this topic with other international educators.


Held Hostage in Qatar!

April 21, 2011

The year is 2009, and after a few great years teaching  we had a change of management at my school and this is when my adventure in Qatar really got underway.

Although the school is a new state of the art building with fantastic facilities, it is the competence of management that is key to any overseas posting. I had a disagreement with one very junior member of the management team and as a result found myself being held as a hostage in Qatar as my employer (the school) was refusing to grant me an Exit Permit to leave the Country for a short holiday. Like most Gulf States, Qatar requires foreigners who wish to work in the country to have a local sponsor. However, unlike other Gulf countries, Qatar gives sponsors the authority over whether their employee is allowed to leave the country or not. A law which some Western organizations say is akin to modern-day slavery.

During the Easter break I was going to visit Dubai. All was well. However, it was at the airport on this trip that I was taken at gunpoint by the Qatar authorities and told I am not allowed to leave! I could not believe what I was experiencing and thought there must be a mix up. However I immediately spoke to the British Embassy and they suggested that I go and see them next morning.

At the embassy I was told that under Qatar law the employer does not have to give their employees permission to leave the country, they agreed that this was a severe breach of rights. I protested and I was told to go back to work and not to worry as the embassy was aware of the situation. The embassy took my contact details and told me to wait for further instructions on what to do! I was told explicitly not to talk about the situation with anyone at the school. Now I was really worried.

A while later I was given a call out of the blue and told to visit the British Embassy. I went along and I was told that I was to buy a return ticket to the Bahrain Grand Prix with Qatar Airways and to buy a ticket for the Grand Prix on-line and when I had done this I was to request a temporary pass to go and see the Grand Prix in Bahrain. I followed the Instructions. That weekend I flew into Bahrain were I was able to fly on back home to the UK with British Airways. Once safe in the UK when I got my head back together I found out that what had happened to me was not the first time someone has been held as a “Hostage in Qatar” All because of the managers at this International school! Go to Qatar at your own RISK BEWARE!!!

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A Pedestrian’s Tale from Kuwait

March 31, 2011

Although the author of this adventure has changed some facts to achieve what he calls “fictional accuracy,” he reports that the “hallucinations are real” in this fanciful narration of walking to work through the streets of Hawally, Kuwait. A tale by international teacher, Marty Rempel:

“…Moses had it easy with the Red Sea. Having the ability to part a sea is not actually a level playing field. Knowing full well I could not part the traffic and realizing the force is not with me, nor seldom is, I tentatively walked on the sidewalk parallel to the constant flow of TATA buses, scooters, trucks, taxis and foul smelling diesel engines…
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…I was about to go for it, cross Tunis Street that is, when to my utter surprise, and partial satisfaction, my pants started to vibrate…”  Continue