The report builds on the work undertaken by Ochs (published in 2003)
which provided useful figures on recruitment of teachers and the
experiences of overseas teachers working in the UK and led, at the 15th
Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers, to the establishment of
a Commonwealth working group to develop a draft protocol on teaching
recruitment. The report provides a set of detailed analyses to assist
policy development. There are three key themes around which the project
was developed. Exploration of these themes led to the development of
The first aim was to ascertain the extent of international flows of
trained teachers. Are certain states losing valuable trained manpower,
while others are benefiting disproportionately from the output of other
countries? Are these flows offset by significant reverse flows, which
may indicate that sending countries benefit from the experience their
teachers obtain abroad? How do such flows compare with those in related
fields, especially health? Specific figures will enable policy-makers to
assess the extent of the problem and to examine benefits and losses.
Secondly, the causes of such flows were examined, exploring the 'push'
and 'pull' factors. What are the 'supply side' factors? For example,
how do age or gender issues impact on teachers' willingness to migrate?
The report also discusses how the recruitment process works in practice.
Are recruitment agencies, where they are involved, schools (in both
sending and receiving countries) and overseas teachers satisfied with
the process and outcomes?
Thirdly, the social consequences of these flows in developing countries
were considered. Crucial here are the linkages between migrant teachers
and their home country, in terms of remittances, return migration and
other effects. It is hypothesised, for instance, that a key social cost
of teacher flows to source countries was the cost of training teachers
that subsequently migrate. The implications of teacher flows for
recruitment shortages and the delivery of education services in source
countries was a key objective of the research.
The study focused on four case-study countries within the Commonwealth.
These were identified as two 'sending' countries, namely Jamaica and
South Africa, two of the most vocal countries at the 15th CCEM, and two
'receiving' countries, namely the United Kingdom (because of
devolution, specifically England) and Botswana. This also gave the
opportunity of looking at 'South-South' mobility as well as
Educational Paper No. 66, DFID, London, UK, ISBN 66 1 86192 762 2, 218 pp.
Teacher Mobility, ‘Brain Drain’, Labour Markets and Educational Resources in the Commonwealth. Researching the Issues 66