Economic Times reported sometime back (Aug 2003),
The focus of Indian immigration has shifted in recent times from Indian techies and entrepreneurs to teachers who have joined the gallery of India's 'global citizens'.
The dearth of educators in UK and US are helping to create a growing global market for teachers.
In Britain there are as many as 7000 vacancies according to government officials and the National Union of Teachers predicts the figure to go up to as many as 40, 000. Also the salaries for teachers in UK are the biggest draw. An Indian teacher in Britain will start at £17,000 a year with a potential to draw as much as £27,000 once he or she has qualified in the UK, and or worked for a number of years. The only glitch is that the Local Education Authorities (LEAs) do not recognise Indian qualifications. Hence, even if an aspirant has a Ph.D. and ten years of work experience, they have to begin from the scratch.
Talking to PTI about the sudden spurt in demand for Indian teachers, K Pandian Rajan, managing director, Mafoi, a leading recruitment agency in the country says, "in both these countries, teachers are poorly paid compared to other professionals. The local population is reluctant to join the profession hence the schools have started hiring teachers from India".
Typically, the school boards contact recruitment agencies which in turn advertise the vacancies in India for qualified candidates. After the applicants are vetted, school officials either come to India or interview potential candidates over phone, or in some cases through video-conferencing, before employing them.
The article also goes on to highlight the problems and challenges for the Indian teachers in adjusting to a different culture and society.
According to a report in The Week (dated March 16, 2003),
Indian teachers have been popular in various parts of the world, particularly in Africa and the developing countries of Asia. Thousands of Indian school teachers taught in Nigeria, Uganda and South Africa till a change in governmental policies and xenophobic outbreaks forced them to leave. However, demand still exists in a few countries like Zambia. In the Gulf region too, Indian teachers are in demand.
Scouting for willing candidates are agencies in the private and public sector. Educational Consultants India Limited, a public sector unit, recruits teachers as and when vacancies arise as a result of agreements between governments.
"We go about it through ads and education fairs, but we have the added credibility of being a government institution," says Ajit Kumar Motwani, director (technical) of Educational Consultants, which sends more than 400 teachers abroad every year. "Our focus is on Asian and African countries."
Besides their grasp of English, Motwani gives two more reasons for the global preference for Indian teachers. "Indians are adaptable to the curriculum," he says. Not to forget their respect for local traditions, one of the reasons why Gulf countries prefer Indian teachers, since they don't cause culture shocks the way teachers from the west might. "They are value for money," adds Motwani.
Since teaching isn't a financially attractive career in the Indian context, will this result in a flight of the better teachers to other countries and a dearth of good teachers in India over time?