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.



Zimbabwean education professionals in South Africa: Motives for migration

Interest in South–North teacher migration has yielded a substantial corpus of literature on the motives for teacher migration and teachers’ experiences in host countries. This article focuses on South Africa (SA) as a receiving country for migrant teachers, in particular Zimbabweans, a perspective not previously explored in studies. It examines the push factors responsible for the migration of Zimbabwean education professionals to SA. The article draws from an ethnographic study undertaken in 2011 to understand the nature of Zimbabwean education professionals’ migration to SA and their experiences in the host country. The data is sourced from 13 semistructured interviews with Zimbabwean education professionals located in the province of Kwa Zulu-Natal in SA. The findings illuminate two cohorts of migrant education professionals in the sample: teachers and lecturers. They were exiting Zimbabwe for multiple, interrelated reasons. The reasons articulated by participants for their migration included the economic situation in Zimbabwe, coupled with the current political climate. Collectively, this negatively influenced the education opportunities available to Zimbabwean education professionals. This paper highlights human vulnerability as Zimbabwean education professionals attempt to survive by pursuing work opportunities in SA. The article concludes with some suggestions for critical education stakeholders in SA. Furthermore, the author argues for the need to provide support to Zimbabwean education professionals, who could assist in addressing immediate labour shortages that exist in SA education.


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