Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Disqualified

Last week I interviewed for a job teaching English at a teachers' training college. I already teach at one teachers' training college so this job was right up my alley. I got the job and they wanted me to start this coming semester which begins next week.

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.

20 comments:

  1. I can't believe how awful that sounds. Paperwork, especially when it's so unreasonable and expensive, is the worst. My SIL went back to school in her mid 50s and had to take courses she'd already taken in college, because the new program wouldn't give her credit for classes taken so...long...ago. (I don't think basic math has changed that much in 35 years, but what do I know). I hope this works out for you.

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  2. Oy Rachel! That is so frustrating. In the US ever time I think about going back to study, the thought of converting my UK degree and certificates to credits leaves me cold. Trying to explain that my 4 year honours degree combines a degree and teaching qualification and equates a masters is maddening. Good luck with it all. I hope someone sees sense and helps yu move through the process smoothly( I think asking for quickly is asking too much!!)

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    1. It's ironic that the hardest part is not the studying or doing the work, it's getting through the bureaucracy.

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  3. Yet another nasty bureaucratic glitch. I can't believe the college couldn't accept you when they really need a teacher and you have a really excellent resume. Dumb.

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    1. Dumb and dumber. Or, Dumb, dumber, dumbest?

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  4. I think your "You let heeeeeer, it's not faiaiaiaiar!" argument is the best one!! It's the only that makes sense, frankly.

    So frustrating and unnecessary. It's a bit like the hoops Special Needs parents in Ireland (and probably the UK and US) have to go through for...well...everything.
    Such a waste of time, paper and energy. I hope you get sorted soon!

    xx Jazzy

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    1. I understand they need some rules because otherwise there are always people who try to diddle the system, but when it's obviously a reputable university (it's not the University of McDonalds or Disney University!) you'd think they could use some common sense.

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  5. Arrrggghhhh I would be on the gin by now, I hate that stuff! The nearest I got to that was police vetting where they wanted details of every house I have ever lived in (a lot). It was lucky they didn't want proof as at least two are no longer standing!

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    1. LOL, who can afford gin when you've just had your monthly salary cut by 1/3? Maybe I should get my sister to go and take photos of the housing estate that was my college 30 years ago.

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  6. How utterly frustrating... I really hope you get it sorted!

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  7. Hey, am over from blow your own blog horn. What an absolute total nightmare you're having - and what a ridiculous amount of red tape. Why do they want to make it so difficult for people? Considering how highly qualified you are, is it really necessary to verify your high school diploma??? I'm afraid I would be stamping my feet and having a tantrum by now.

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    1. I had my tantrum. Now I'm just going through the motions to get through it as quickly and painlessly as possible. Thanks for your support.

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  8. FFSakes!!!! In this day and age, does there have to be so much ridiculous paper work..... given how long ago some of your educational records, it seems a tad unrealistic to expect to have everything. Totally echoing your 'it's not faaaaaaaaaiiiiir'. X

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    1. FFS! Just about sums it up. I couldn't have put it better myself. :)

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  9. What a parlarva - good luck keep us posted

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  10. hope you get it sorted, long gone are days they took us on trust!

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    1. Yes, sad but necessary. On the other hand, when you do have documents they should honour them even if they are not the exact bits of paper they think they require.

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