Recruitment of Teachers to be Discussed by Commonwealth Education Ministers


The recruitment of teachers and its impact on developing Commonwealth countries will be one of the issues to be discussed at the 15th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers to be held in Edinburgh, Scotland from October 27 to 30.
Jamaica’s delegation to the Conference will be headed by Education, Youth and Culture Minister, Maxine Henry-Wilson.
A special Discussion Paper on: ‘Teachers – Recruitment, Retention and Development Issues’, has been prepared by the Commonwealth Secretariat, and Education Ministers from 52 Commonwealth states will be invited to discuss this topic, as experienced by their countries, look at the challenges and good practices and consider what specific action or response they will undertake.
The recruitment of teachers from developing countries, such as Jamaica and other Caribbean states by the United Kingdom (UK) has become an issue of concern within the region, and has been placed on the Agenda of the Commonwealth.
Last year, Education Ministers from the Caribbean met to explore the setting up of a ‘Commonwealth Code of Practice’ for the international recruitment of teachers. The region argued that the absence of a clear policy on recruitment made it difficult for governments to plan effectively.
The proposed Commonwealth Protocol would, among other things, provide for the sharing of information on teacher supply, demand and availability, give information to governments about the existence of formal teacher recruitment programmes and the scheduling of recruitment activities, and the establishment of a mechanism to monitor the progress of recruiting schemes.
The Discussion Paper notes that while there can be benefits from the movement of teachers among countries, there can also be a significant drain of human resources which can adversely impact on a developing country.
“There can be benefits to both individuals and countries from the effects of mobility. For developing countries, the outflows of skilled people can generate significant remittances, and longer-term benefits may include the new skills and contacts brought back by returning migrants. Movements can, however, also be a drain on human resources which are in short supply and which, when added to other factors resulting in teacher loss, may adversely impact upon countries’ abilities to meet key educational goals and objectives. Small states, in particular, can be hardest hit when their teacher resources are affected, with replacement of such a valuable national investment being a critical issue,” it says.
Over the past few years, more than 500 teachers have been recruited from Jamaica by the United Kingdom and North America.
The theme for this year’s Commonwealth Education Ministers’ meeting is, ‘Closing the Gap: Access, Inclusion and Achievement’. The Ministers are expected to focus on the need to ensure that all children and young people have access to high quality education; that their education is fully inclusive; and that it enables them to maximize their achievements as individuals.
The meeting will seek to generate tangible outputs in six action areas: ‘Achieving universal completion of primary education’; ‘Eliminating gender disparities in education’; ‘Improving quality in education’; ‘Using distance learning to overcome barriers’; ‘Supporting education in difficult circumstances’; and ‘Mitigating the effects of HIV/AIDS on education systems’.
Commonwealth Secretary-General, Don McKinnon and Jack McConnell, the First Minister of Scotland, will address the opening ceremony set for Monday, October 27. The Edinburgh Communiqu

JIS Social