Next Steps in Managing Teacher Migration

Papers of the Sixth Commonwealth Research Symposium on Teacher Mobility, Recruitment and Migration

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The Sixth Commonwealth Teachers’ Research Symposium brought together education researchers, practitioners and policy-makers to share experiences from developed and developing countries both within and outside the Commonwealth. This collection of papers from the event examines current trends in teacher migration, including education in emergencies, forced migration and pan-African migration, in line with the current global focus on education in conflict affected countries.

Co-published with UNESCO.



Managing teacher recruitment and migration: A case study of the Barbados experience

This paper seeks to highlight Barbados’ experience in managing teacher recruitment and migration. As a small developing state, Barbados has been a leader in the promotion of strategies to manage teacher migration, commencing with the events surrounding the development of the Savannah Accord. Since 2001, the Government of Barbados has been guided by a policy framework on teacher recruitment and migration which was developed following the experience of the period between 1998 and 2001. During this period, a significant number of Barbadian teachers were recruited to work in the USA. Barbados also played a pivotal role in the development of the Savannah Accord in 2002 and the Commonwealth Teacher Recruitment Protocol (CTRP), which was adopted in 2004. An examination of administrative data compiled in the Barbados Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development was conducted. The views of Barbadian teachers who have migrated were sought to facilitate the documentation of their experience. A qualitative approach using telephone and face-to-face interviews was therefore used to collect and analyse data from two former senior ministry officials, teachers and one Barbados teaching union executive. Quantitative data from the ministry’s records and the Barbados Immigration Department were also analysed to investigate the migration of teachers to Barbados from other countries. The analysis of data revealed that between 2000 and 2009 an estimated 3 to 4 per cent of trained and experienced teachers in the public service had either been granted leave to teach abroad or migrated to work in other jurisdictions. This was fairly significant given the size of the public teaching workforce in Barbados. In addition, when gender was taken into consideration, approximately two-thirds of the teachers who were recruited were females. Administrative data revealed that currently 214 non-Barbadian citizens are employed in the public service, while between 2006 and 2010, 127 teachers were granted visas to work in Barbados. An important finding from the interviews with teachers was that a majority had no knowledge of the CTRP. Future research should focus on conducting a gap analysis on the CTRP’s implementation in Barbados to determine what still needs to be done regarding dissemination of information.


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