Here are some of the comments posted in the UAE Armenian Forum* about the above topic. Names are replaced with the word “Comment”.
In July 2011, while both the School Principal and Head of the School Committee were outside UAE, the Council of the Armenian Community of Northern Emirates invited a candidate for the position of School Principal and interviewed him.
We selected some of the comments. Names are replaced with the word Comment.
Ohanesian Armenian School is located in Sharjah, one of the seven Emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates.
During the last meeting of the Legislative Council in Sharjah, it was decided to turn the voluntary work of the School Principle to a full time paid work in order to have a school with better quality. Currently filtering is taking place to offer the position to a person from abroad who will enjoy salary, allowances, car, house (negotiable) etc. Why the School Committee (Board of Trustees) and the teachers are not kept aware about the process? Under what criteria the process of inviting and selecting candidates is taking place? Why there is no transparency?
I believe public vacancies should be announced first and chance should be given to all who are eligible to apply.
We should avoid injustices when we invite people to work together and pay some and do not pay others. Already one of voluntary teachers here in Sharjah informed me that she will not feel comfortable to teach voluntarily under the supervision of a paid Principal.
Criticizing is all well and healthy, it shows that people are not blind and are not fearful of pointing out inconvenient truths, but, we need solutions, not people sitting and pointing towards problems and talking big words and shouting loudly…Empty drums and all that… So, if you are in a position to instigate change, in this particular matter, what would you do? And this question goes each and every one of the people who read this and would like to see change, and probably have an active hand or be a catalyst towards a change for the better…
I think the best solution is that the people who are in charge should invite all to a panel discussion which will deal with issues related to the fate of the school and the level of education. But before doing so they need to respect the School Council and give it the full right to conduct the best scanning of available candidates in a professional and non-biased manner. After all, this is the first time such a position have been introduced with paid salary and other benefits.
Try to see the ethical side of the story. There is a functioning Principal in the school. First give him a chance to resign in dignity (I am not sure if he has resigned or not) and then plan for a successor. After all, the current Principal has been doing voluntary work and he needs to be acknowledged, not ignored.
It is difficult to run a school based on complete voluntarism. The easy going mentality would be prevailing. Why don't we take this poor school one step higher and make it semi-professional? We are good at spending million dirhams on empty buildings and wasteful events. Why not spend it on educating our teachers and sending them to courses and funding their educational studies and then paying their salaries after proper selection.
I encourage learning from other Armenian communities that have democratic traditions. By the way, why we do not invite for the Principal's position, for example, two of the School Committee members themselves who are university level graduate pedagogues. They have the right to apply for the position, don't they?
I am sure they will find an excuse to reject the two education experts that we have in the School Committee. Let me imagine some of the excuses: 1) They are not experienced (answer: one of them has taught a decade in schools) 2) They lack administrative talent (answer: we know them both and we know how strong in character they are. One of them is frequent contributor in our forum). 3) They did not apply for the post (answer: did the Council announce the vacancy? No).
How can we educate our children about honesty and integrity, when we behave like this in our school? Should we tell them the truth: That the choices related to the school Principal's selection were based on discrimination and non-educational affiliations?
*About the UAE Armenian Forum
UAE Armenian Forum started in September 2010 with few members and now has grown into a group of 400+ members, who mostly reside in UAE and have direct interest in Armenian community life. The group is a closed one (restricted membership). The postings do not appear on the member's individual Wall or Timeline, thus making it not accessible to friends or beyond. This degree of privacy encourages members to discuss community issues openly and with a certain level of criticism.
Forum link: http://www.facebook.com/groups/uaearmenians/