Next Steps in Managing Teacher Migration

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

image of Next Steps in Managing Teacher Migration
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.



Where have all the teachers gone? Why there are never any teachers in Africa's refugee camps and what we can do about it

When it is time to start formal education soon after a population has arrived in a refugee or displaced persons’ camp, or has been isolated by war, it is often found that few qualified teachers are available. Using specific examples from Chad, Coˆte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Sudan, Uganda and Zambia, this paper argues that refugees, like anyone else, are rationally motivated by the availability of income. Thus the inability or unwillingness to pay teachers a competitive wage in the camp or to give them contracts is seen as a deciding factor for people who already have salaries. Furthermore, even if they flee with the rest to camps or settlements, qualified teachers are frequently taken by non-education non-governmental organisations (NGOs), get scholarships or resettlement more easily and find jobs, when allowed, in the wider host community. The resultant shortfall in the teaching force means it becomes necessary to create a teaching force rapidly. In the context of little academic literature on these subjects, this paper uses examples from 20 years’ of participant-observation by the researcher to provide an overview of the situation and provide recommendations. Examples include: first, giving training and support to volunteer teachers in temporary primary schools in displaced people’s camps in Khartoum; second, training teachers in the then Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)-held areas of the South of Sudan using a modular training system; third, primary teacher training in Somalia; fourth, the need to educate large numbers of children from AIDS-affected families in Zambia when the teachers were also sick and dying; and fifth, experiences from Francophone countries: Coˆte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo and Chad, where a French version of Be a Better Teacher (‘le Bon Enseignant’) was used to enable teachers to be trained in-service.


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