African countries may experience a mass teacher exodus to the United Kingdom (UK) in 2023. So far, educators from South Africa, Ghana, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria who have the same credentials as their British counterparts are now able to apply for positions in the UK.
The teachers must have had teaching experience for at least a year in their home country, and it must be connected to teaching. According to reports from the UK, qualified teacher status (QTS) will be available to teachers starting on February 1 of the next year.
The UK qualified teacher status (QTS) confirms that an individual has the necessary education and satisfies the standards necessary to teach in the majority of primary and secondary schools in England. Most teachers from the selected African countries meet the QTS.
The request for applications was recently revealed by the British Department of Education. The UK has a deficit of thousands of teachers. Teachers from Ukraine, Singapore, Jamaica, India, and Hong Kong have also been given the opportunity to apply for teaching jobs in the UK.
Better salary and working conditions are the major pull factors for teachers to go to the UK. A non-qualified teacher’s annual wage is set at £24 254, which translates to around US$30 000 for positions in inner London and £20 480 or US$25 000 for the rest of England.
Local unions that represent teachers in these selected four African countries issued a warning to their countries that a mass exodus of educators may be on the horizon. A teachers’ union in Zimbabwe claimed yesterday that the attractive compensation packages being provided in the UK had generated enormous interest.
According to Raymond Majongwe, secretary-general of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, “UK job openings have attracted teachers.” It’s a tragic story. Instead of reaping the rewards of their labor in Zimbabwe, senior teachers are leaving to work abroad.
In Zimbabwe, teachers have previously staged strikes to demand a salary increment and earn at least US$540, but the Harare government has objected on the grounds of incapacity.
Observers have argued that his rush to apply for open positions in the UK and other nations is worrying. This is a wake-up call for many African governments to move quickly and enhance the working conditions and keep the educators.In Zimbabwe, teachers who have expressed interest in UK teaching jobs have since created groups on social media where they can exchange information and access information about the positions.
Mass medical personnel emigration from Nigeria and Zimbabwe to Europe and North America is already a problem. In the last two years, Zimbabwe has lost a number of health professionals, including at least 3000 nurses, to the UK.
A large-scale teacher exodus would have a severe negative impact on the African society as a whole, in addition to having an impact on teachers, pupils, and their families. Unqualified teachers will be left in our African schools, and the quality of education will drop. Schools will end up producing half-baked graduates that will not be good enough for the development of our continent.
African governments have to come up with policies that will stop brain drain. Teachers and many health professionals need to be fairly paid so that they remain on the continent.