Thursday, 4 November 2010

When the Chickens Come Home to Roost . . .

It’s true - you can always trust ‘The National’ to get its facts right. Well, some of them - let’s say half, shall we? Their recent report on the present education funding shortfall was a good example of a newspaper being ‘economical with the truth’. Take a quick look at these two small but significant excerpts from the article . . .

1. The HCT is finding it increasingly difficult to attract "exceptional" faculty members, who are being offered better deals elsewhere.

2. Long teaching hours, slow promotions and better work offers outside the HCT were also identified as problems.

The first part is absolutely true – teachers are getting better offers from other colleges and universities in the Gulf region, and thus turning their collective backs on King Kamali’s empire. Well, who can blame them?

The second section is also true, especially at some of the least popular Gulags in the HCT network, where lousy management force staff to undertake unpaid overtime and remain on the premises unnecessarily. Here we can see a sickly mixture of control freakery and a despicable exploitation of each faculty member’s reluctance (i.e. fear) to stand up to management bullying.

But that’s only half the story, I would say. One only needs to cast an eye at Dave’s ESL CafĂ© and at any one of the three blogs (this one included) that lift the lid on the lousy state of affairs in many, if not most, of HCT’s colleges. There the truth is laid bare, and it is not an edifying spectacle. Is it any wonder prospective employees, especially of the 'exceptional' variety, prefer to go elsewhere?

What is very clear, then, is that HCT’s current recruitment problem is a direct result of their awful treatment of its own faculty, especially since King Kamali ascended to the HCT throne some five years back. And this systematic mistreatment of professionals teachers and other staff is now bearing its poisoned fruit.

This particular blog gets an average of 50 hits every day, and every one of those readers soon understands that the Higher Colleges of Technology is not a desirable place to work. That’s the main objective of this site.

I too realised that something was very rotten in the HCT empire some time ago, and when I attempted to inform the rest of the world via ‘The National’ I was dismissed, along with another colleague who had committed a similar act of enlightenment (although we were not actually aware of each other until after the event). Even worse, we were both denied our gratuities, which was an illegal act.

As a result of this shameful treatment by our respective (but not respected) superiors, we decided to set up this blog. At present we have no plans to abandon it or close it down, and we can not really envisage that ever happening. The sore will be kept open, with regular doses of salt added. Only the restoration of our stolen gratuities will oblige us to apply a bandage and let the healing process take place.

30 comments:

Sharjah Sam said...

There's a fair number of former HCT employees who were dismissed under dubious circumstances and then denied their gratuities. You could fill a book with their names and apparent 'crimes'!

It looks to me like the HCT management is never satisfied with manufacturing excuses for sacking people it happens to take a dislking to, regardless of their teaching abilities. They have to give the knife a twist too.

I'm so glad to see the tables being turned at last!

Anonymous said...

This was my favorite quote from the article:

It projected a decline in the number of students accepted by the HCT, often sought as a last resort for students seeking higher education.

Obviously, this is NOT a reflection the MASS majority of the HCT staff, but rather a reflection of the tinkering with the model ever since Tubby bubbled up to the top and the political machinations of most of the "leadership".

The day will come when the powers that be realize what has happened over the years, but it won't make up for the carcasses it has produced.

Anonymous said...

HCT has now become the 'college of last resort' for many teaching staff over the past few years too.

As for academic and research staff, it's now a complete no-no, except for those with the most dubious of doctorates!

Raja Karma said...

But not for 'SiJo', or Osimon bin Jones, who claims to have TWO doctorates!!

Suede Oasis said...

The latest chart update from 'punchinthefacebook.com' puts TK at number 9, and SiJo at number 16.

They're still there - they won't go away!

And neither shall we!!

Khalifa Exile said...

Today's update sees The Claw overtaking TK and wrestling her way into 4th position. Such excitement!

Poor old SiJo is still the HCT back-marker, though, stuck at lowly 18. Shame on the poor fellow - sack him for underperforming!

Anonymous said...

Could this 'suede' fellow possibly be a certain teacher in Abu dhabi by the name of Steven Wade?
Just aking, that's all.

Anonymous said...

If it is, good fucking luck to him. Give him a medal - he deserves it!

Anonymous said...

This blog was pointed out to be by another member of staff at the HCT. I've been working here for a couple of years and I don't think my salary is too bad and I think my working conditions are okay. True, the longer hours you are expected to be in college can be a bit of a pain but I didn't come here expecting it to be a holiday camp. perhaps I am very naive but the Arab Nations are not renown for their positive treatment of their expatriates workers. If they want rid of you they get rid of you, in whatever industry you work in. You need to get a grip on reality and realise that you are the hired help and this is not a democratic country where free speech and workers rights are held with any regard. We are paid contractors. They pay us, we do the work, simple as that.

You also take the comments about "Exceptional Staff" and twist them to meet your own ends. I find that pretty insulting. I am actually quite good at what I do and I take pride in working hard and doing a good job. I also realise that I have good and bad bosses and that not every day in work is going to be like paradise. I do my job, enjoy the colleagues I work in and don't spend time bitching and moaning about my bosses.

Furthermore, if we are having difficulty attracting "Exceptional Staff" to the HCT maybe whingers like you have something to do with. You were sacked and have decided to carry out this hate campaign against an institution that employed you, gave you a decent wage and accommodation and other benefits but you screwed it up and got sacked! If you didn't like the terms and conditions of your employment you shouldn't have excepted, if you didn't like working here you should have resigned. That is the free movement of labour and if you think it is much better at the moment in the western world where people are facing massive redundancies then you should question whether you meet the "Exceptional Staff" criteria. Or are you trying to imply that everyone of the 2000+ staff that HCT employs are miserable, downtrodden slaves? Because that ain't me mister!!!

I also find the blatant name calling and libellous comments about people on this website as quite disgusting and cowardly and more of a reflection of the people who have set up these blogs rather than their former managers.

Finally for the record, I do not work for the HCT's management, nor am I in any kind of supervisory position. I just happen to have much more self worth than you seen to exhibit.

I will also be happy to give my full name and position if the other contributors on here are also prepared to do so.

No axe to grind said...

This blog was pointed out to be by another member of staff at the HCT. I've been working here for a couple of years and I don't think my salary is too bad and I think my working conditions are okay. I have more money to spend each month here than back in the West. True, the longer hours you are expected to be in college can be a bit of a pain but I didn't come here expecting it to be a holiday camp and I’ve worked longer hours for less pay. Arab Nations are not renowned for their positive treatment of their expatriate workers. You need to get a grip on reality and realise that you are the hired help and this is not a democratic country where free speech and workers rights are held with any regard. We are paid contractors.
You also take the comments about "Exceptional Staff" and twist them to meet your own ends. I find that pretty insulting. I am actually good at what I do and I take pride in working hard and doing a good job, as I would imagine do most of the staff who work here.
Furthermore, if we are having difficulty attracting "Exceptional Staff" to the HCT maybe whingers like you have something to do with your petty little blog, hiding behind the anonymity of the internet. You were sacked and have decided to carry out this hate campaign against an institution that employed you, gave you a decent wage and accommodation and other benefits but you screwed it up and got sacked! If you didn't like the terms and conditions of your employment you shouldn't have accepted, if you didn't like working here you should have resigned. Is it much better at the moment in the western world where people are facing massive redundancies because of massive funding cutbacks? Also are you trying to imply that everyone of the 2000+ staff that HCT employs are miserable, downtrodden slaves? Because that ain't me mister.
Finally for the record, I do not work for the HCT's management but I do work at HCT and I don’t necessarily think it is Nirvana but I’ve worked at better and worse places. I just happen to have much more self worth than you seem to exhibit, you coward.

Anonymous said...

Until 'No axe to grind' contributed to this blog, I thought you had to have a personality disorder in order to comment. But no! Regular people can indeed login!

What a bunch of sad-faced losers you are. HCT may or may not be a dump, I've no idea, but it's biggest mistake was employing the self-obsessed, limp-dicked numskulls who run this blog.

No axe to grind said...

Apologies for posting twice. The first time it told me my submission was too long, hence the edited version.

Anonymous said...

No axe to grind makes some good points. Except, he's wrong to suggest HCT sacks incompetent people. HCT sacks indiscriminately and often on a whim, and it usually has little to do with ability or lack therefore.
But, the problem with sites like this is that they are written by teachers who have a very limited, myopic view of HCT and just sound petty. They don't have an informed overview of HCT, which is actually far worse than anyone here can know.
Corruption, graft, and malfeasance at the very top and complete mismanagement at every level has brought HCT dangerously close to the brink. HCT is basically broke and operating on fumes. Many of the best managers and faculty have left or have been sacked and are not being replaced. The Simon Joneses and CLWs are not really the problem, but only symptomatic of much larger problems.
The one thing for sure is that Tayeb Kamali is largely to blame for the miserable state of things. But, his closest cohorts at ACS are almost as guilty. The soon-to-exit provost lost his power struggle with the VC. So, nothing will improve. Teaching will become more miserable as HCT moves to the new degree structure in its bid to become an accredited university. Expect far worse to come.

Suede Oasis said...

Well thanks for stepping in and to my defence, anon (above). I was about to make a similar comment about NoAxToGrind's naivety, but your posting has done that and a lot more.

Let me add, or repeat, that one day you, NATG, could well find yourself on the sharp end of an HCT management goon's stick, and no amount of perfect student evaluations, high pass marks, or congratulatory remarks on your PEP will save you. Forget those superb materials and exam specifications that you created - they'll count for nothing when the goons want blood to be spilt!

For us, however, the most revealing part of anon's comments is that concerning the thoroughly rotten state of King Tubby's Empire, as follows . . .

Corruption, graft, and malfeasance at the very top and complete mismanagement at every level has brought HCT dangerously close to the brink. ... Many of the best managers and faculty have left or have been sacked and are not being replaced. The Simon Joneses and CLWs are not really the problem, but only symptomatic of much larger problems.

Of course, mere whiteboard workers such as us have little or no access to the inner sanctums of the Rotten Kingdom, and rely on second- or third- hand information to guide us. So an informed account from an insider such as thee, anon, would be extremely welcome!

We're waiting on you...

Anonymous said...

Lord Limp-Dick seems now to be censoring the comments he doesn't like. He's getting more like HCT management every day.

Suede Oasis said...

No, my dear Anon, I just deleted your peurile comment as it attracted more of the same.

If you have anything of substance to say, then please do so. Otherwise, perhaps you would feel more at home hanging out at a certain other blog related to HCT.

By the way, if you're the guy NATG, who promised to reveal his name if others did the same, let me direct your attention to the comment that reveals the monicker Steven Wade.

So a name, rather than name-calling, is in order, I think!

Anonymous said...

If Lord L-D is deleting puerile comments, this blog is gonna be empty

Anonymous said...

While I made general references to things on the the inside and at the top, I'm not inclined to elaborate, at least for now, simply because it could possibly identify me, and also I don't see the point.
What is your goal here? You've expressed your opinion about the evil of HCT, an opinion held by many. But, beyond what appears to be rehashing common information about the worst colleges, the worst directors, the morally bankrupt VC, and the dodgy way that HCT deals with employees, I don't see what you hope to accomplish. You're hardly going to bring HCT down. It will possibly do that on its own without low-end potshots from you and the host of posters on other blogs like Dave's ESL Cafe and ADWCamp. I realize you're bitter, like so many others. But, you're not going to get much out of this, in the end, and it's already degenerating into petty in-fighting among posters.
Unfortunately, the Gulf is full of places like HCT that exploit expats, chew them up and spit them out, when they're done. It's not alone in that. Try Turkey, for example or any of several countries in Asia, where not only do they abuse expat employees, they do so for far less money than one makes at HCT.
All I've said to friends, who have been offered jobs here is to be realistic, and come with the idea that you've probably got a year, because you'll likely not pass probation. Even at that, they'll make more money than they would in the same amount of time back home.

Anonymous said...

These bloggers are just saddo's who can't get over the fact they aren't the centre of everyone's universe. Must have been tough for them starting kindergarten as well.....

Suede Oasis said...

I appreciate your point, anon (2:28 pm) above, but, as they say - 'the show must go on'!

You see, although you refer to it as 'rehashing common information about the worst colleges, the worst directors, the morally bankrupt VC, and the dodgy way that HCT deals with employees', etc, for many teachers overseas who might be considering taking up a post at HTC, it's not a rehash at all.

And the more fresh info we can get up on this blog (including yours eventually, I hope!), the harder it will be for HCT to recruit gullible teachers. Simple, really.

Regarding that 'fresh info', I'll have some of that for you tomorrow, from an unexpected source. But wait till you get home to check it out - you're not the only one who's watching your monitor!

hybrasil said...

Anonymous says: 'I am actually quite good at what I do and I take pride in working hard and doing a good job. I also realise that I have good and bad bosses and that not every day in work is going to be like paradise. I do my job, enjoy the colleagues I work in and don't spend time bitching and moaning about my bosses.'

Well, goody for you-- obviously the system works FOR YOU. The point is, though, it doesn't work for everyone, and it's definitely NOT because they're unmotivated, incompetent whingers, etc. It's because there are many people who know they're good at what they do, do a good job, etc, but who for reasons that have NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with such admirable qualities, fall foul of the system, of an individual, of a disaffected student or group of students -- who are just unlucky. Their admirable qualities are dissed on the gossip circuit in order to justify their treatment, and their smug 'I'm-alright-Jack' colleagues--- often the ones it just hasn't happened to YET--- stand by and let it happen. I'm glad to see that there's a bit of informed criticism --- what anon calls 'whingeing'--- happening at last. Yes, there IS a lot of injustice in the world-- and we're supposed to be 'educators', right? Not much of it in TEFLing, that I could see.

Suede Oasis said...

Well, at least that's THREE of us who agree on one thing - that it don't matter how good a teacher you are, because you could find yourself getting the chop on the mere whim of an HCT goon at any time.

Let me also point out that such a perverted system of management leads to a high level of 'brown-noserism' amongst those who are ambitious. They realise that teaching skills are of secondary importance, or perhaps none at all, and therefore spend a good deal of their time passing on gossip about their colleagues and licking the boots of their loathsome supervisors.

This model is not unique to HCT, of course, but would be strenously denied by King Tubby and his cronies, not to mention a lot of the supervisors further down the line (but not ALL supervisors - we do know who the fair ones are!).

Even worse, the blurb that accompanies HCT's desperate recruitment advertisements is nothing more than a series of lies. The assertion that HCT "is an environment that both desires and produces excellence" is the complete opposite of the truth! Conformity, subservience, and mediocrity are the true bywords for every single one of HCT's employees!!

Anonymous said...

I suspect that many of the posters on here and other blogs are disgruntled English teachers, which inevitably are right at the bottom of the pecking order and the first (but, by no means the only) to suffer unfair treatment.
It will get worse. Recently, the provost asked for a confidential report on how best to quickly dismantle foundations. Therefore, HCT will not need any English teachers sometime within the next 2 years.
If you're an English teacher at HCT, I'd suggest you get your CV in order and start exploring your options now. If you're planning on coming to teach English at HCT, expect to be sacked before your 3 year contract is finished.
HCT continues to act with impunity because the management know that those that are fired are usually the most vulnerable, with no recourse, nor any power to do damage to HCT.

But, HCT has an Achilles heel.

Festival of Thinkers, EWB, Fergie speaking at the entrepreneurship conference, bringing in high-priced celebrity academics from Harvard and Stanford to teach the bankrupt EMBA, signing MoUs with the likes of war-monger-turned-born-again-Christian Tony Blair, all point to one thing: a desire for HCT to gain credibility internationally because above all, HCT needs it to get academic accreditation in order to continue to be viable.
Institutionally, they have so far failed. They were already turned down by one major accrediting body in the US and are now going after another. Some divisions are accredited, but not all.
If someone really wanted to hurt HCT, all they'd need to do is start a letter writing campaign to every academic accrediting body and professional organization to which HCT desires admittance.
They're already on shakey ground. So, it wouldn't take much to push them over the edge.

Suede Oasis said...

Dismantle the Foundations programme/s? No chance, at least not until 2020.

The quality of English taught at the UAE's schools is not good enough to enable the (below-) average 17-year old Emirati to cope at college or university level. Until that changes, UAE's kids will need to improve their English through foundations programmes, whether these are taught at school or college.

Of course, the Provost might try to delude himself and several others that this is possible, but we all KNOW why this kidding is going on!

In all the foreign countries I've ever worked in, high-school graduates need a foundations programme of at least a year to enable them to cope with studying in English. Just why should the average spoilt Emirati numbskulls should be any better than their counterparts in more developed countries?

As for the accreditation game, we are WELL aware of this. We did our best to throw the spanner in the works last time, e-mailing and telephoning the proposed accrediting body, and we are doing the same now. Directing their attention to these pages and those of the press. ESL Cafe, TES, The Chronicle, etc, usually turns out to be a, eye-watering experience for the accreditation guys - for King Tubby too!

Anonymous said...

Which accrediting body turned down HCT, and who are they chasing after now for validation? I can't imagine any reputable organization accrediting HCT, given its many problems.

Anonymous said...

Hey
I have applied for HCT business faculty and after about a month I have received an email that I may be selected for an interview. How long should I wait for the interview? what was your experience with recruitment at HCT? Please respond without your hatred to HCT. Thanks Joe

Tubby Luv said...

Anyone who posts two messages seeking info and qualifies the request "without your hatred to HCT" might just be the sort of loser HCT Management is looking for. Congrats! Look for your offer of employment any day now. Can you start work Jan 30?

Anonymous said...

Aaaah stop your whingeing. HCT is a good place to work and it offers a decent package. Don't like it? Then go home and try paying tax or running your own business 18 hours a day. You guys don't know how bloody lucky you are

Anonymous said...

Well, the package WAS good at one time in the past, but that's just a distant memory now. Truth is, the salaries offered by ZU and even UAEU are now better than HCT's financial enticements, which have been eroded every year due to HCT's refusal to honour its own contracted annual increments. Then there's the accom. and education allowances, which have not been increased since the 1990s.

Decent package? I don't think so!

Even worse is the snooping and management intimidation that goes on, all sanctioned by TK of course. Yeah, we're REALLY lucky to be working for HCT!!

Suede Oasis said...

And now it's gotten worse, with HCT now setting its sights firmly on recruiting teaching staff who speak English as a second langusge - hence the low salaries and reduced benefits currently on offer.

The HCT 'system' (ahem!) is presently undergoing some 'realignment' due to the years of corruption and decay that Dr TK inflicted under his tenure. The whole place is best avoided by any sensible educator.