10 May 2019
Introduction to TELS/ What is TELS
The TELS UAE project is co-developed by the National Qualifications Authority (NQA), the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) and the Ministry of Education (MoE), in association with the British University in Dubai (BUiD); and is aimed to create a standardized level of teacher competency through a uniform licensing system which would bring the level of education in the UAE on par with the international systems. Even individuals with a non- teaching background can take the qualifications for their higher or further education if they fulfill the required criteria of the applicants. The criteria itself is basic, where the individual must have a clear criminal and medical record, the original certificates of their educational qualifications attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the country’s embassy in UAE. If the applicant is a UAE native, they must then have attested certificates of their educational qualifications with just an average score of Good. Furthermore, the candidate must obtain an IELTS Certificate for English, Mathematics and IT and Learning Resource Centre, with a minimum score of 6.5, 5.5 and 0.4 respectively.
Teacher Training According to TELS
According to the program, there are three stages involved. The very first step is about application for teacher license; teachers who meet the preliminary requirements tend to get the provincial license. Meanwhile, the induction programs will be further organised to educate teachers about the TELS UAE training and activities. The next step is all about teachers identifying their needs and completing a self-assessment. Mock examinations are conducted on the professional development training to identify the knowledge gaps of teachers accordingly. Following which; further trainings are carried out. The criterion of self-assessment is a bit rigorous since the 4 educational leadership standards need to be tested;
- Ethics and conduct: knowledge regarding the UAE ethics, cultures, values and code of conduct are tested.
- Professional knowledge: theories of learning, stages of professional development and the application of those theories are tested. Moreover; the teachers are educated on how to handle vocational training and interacting and dealing with special needs students.
- Professional practice
- Professional growth.
The self-assessments are then reviewed by the British University in Dubai (BUiD), or any authorised national university, which then provides further training according to the assessment results. Once the TELS UAE exam has been successfully completed, teachers would be able to earn the UAE Competent Teacher Status License, which would allow them to teach in any school in the UAE.
A first pilot training of the TELS project was conducted in Dubai with the association of the Business University in Dubai (BUiD) as a trial run; where more than 200 teachers from 15 schools were assessed according to the new standards.
The introduction of a standardised qualification system has allowed universities and online institutions globally to develop and offer courses specifically moulded according to the requirements set up by TELS. Some of the courses offered focus on the cultural values and norms of UAE, and its history, along with educator training programs such as the PTLLS, DTLLS and the CTLLS. Special training for vocational teaching and special education courses have also seen an influx. The incentives offered to TELS qualified teachers include an increased tax-free salary, better fringe benefits (including residence) and a higher year-end bonus; and have resulted in an increased traffic of educators, both native and expatriate, hoping to earn the TELS UAE qualification before it becomes mandatory in the year 2021.