Wednesday, February 5, 2014
I had to deal with the formalities first of course. I went to HR with my B.Ed and M.A. certificates and various other pieces of paper that I thought might be useful. They asked me if my M.A. was accredited by the Ministry of Education in Israel as it's a foreign degree. This has never been a requirement for independent institutions that are not supported by the MoE. It's new, within the last four years since I started my other job at another college.
I have an M.A. from London University, Institute of Education. One of the top 2 or 3 places in the world for education studies. Why wouldn't the MoE accept it? As it happens, I know that they do. I did this degree in Israel as part of an external course run in Tel Aviv and hosted by The British Council (1996-1998). There were 30 students, most of them teaching in Israeli schools and paid by the MoE at M.A. level. (And the course was run at least three times.) I remember it being discussed at the time and letters being handed out to submit to the MoE. I don't know where any of those students are now or indeed even remember their names.
I didn't request a letter as I had always worked in institutions independent of the MoE - Universities, Colleges, private schools, and The British Council. Even when I worked in a state school, I was paid through the extra-curricular budget as I was teaching the Native English Speakers.
So I called the MoE to ask them to look on their list of accredited foreign degrees and please fax me a letter saying that mine was included. Simples. No.
MoE: We don't do that. You have to send in a request form and we will process it? Where did you do your first degree?
Me: In England.
MoE: You need to verify your first degree first.
Me: But they wouldn't have accepted me into London University to do an M.A. without a valid first degree.
MoE: We can't look at your second degree until we have verified your first degree. Send in the forms.
I downloaded the forms. Luckily you can send them both in together. And I downloaded the list of other documents they require. WTF???!!!
1. Cerificates - ok
2. Transcripts of all courses taken with grades achieved for each course - Hahaha.
3. For a first degree verification, a High School Diploma. - I don't have my O level and A Level certificates as I have B.Ed. and M.A. certificates from reputable institutions. I left school in 1981, forget it.
4. Official documents showing any name changes of the institutions you attended. Well I went to a teachers' training college in Hertfordshire (1982-1985) which has since closed and become a housing estate. It was part of Hatfield Poly which has now become The University of Hertfordshire. What are the chances?
5. A statement which I have to get notified by a lawyer. Oh I've got plenty to say all right.
6. Questionnaires from the MoE. - I've not even looked at these yet.
Thank God a million times that we are no longer living in the age of sending letters by post and waiting for replies.
1st, a phone call: The British Council. Sorry, we don't have any records of anything going back that far.
2nd, an email to The University of Hertfordshire. Sorry, contact the Council for National Academic Awards (who awarded my B.Ed.). And he gave me the email address of the CNAA aftercare department.
3rd, an email to the CNAA - as yet no reply.
4th, an email to The Institute of Education - as yet no reply.
5th, printed out all emails and replies as proof that I tried my best to comply.
6th, a phone call to the Head of English at the college where I want to work to tell her that this isn't going to be resolved by next week. She was very nice and said they definitely want me to teach there in September but I can't start this semester without the paperwork. No problem, it's only 10,000 shekels worth of work. What's 10,000 shekels when you're already living on the breadline?
Last night I suddenly remembered that one of my co-students from the M.A. course is still living in Jerusalem and teaching in two high schools - in one of which she is the Head of English. So 7th, I'm going to call her this evening to see if she has any documentation I can copy. At the very least I can use her as an example - "You let heeeeeer, it's not faiaiaiaiar!"
So I'm collecting my bits of paper and [not] looking forward to going into the MoE offices to plead my case. Watch this space, I'll keep you posted.