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Demand for British teachers in the region higher than supply.

Dubai: Demand for British teachers by international schools in the region is higher than supply, an expert said during the International and Private Schools Education Forum last week.

Neil Ollier, Director of Business Development in the Mena region, who spoke about how changes in policy and economics have affected teacher supply, said demand of teachers has increased due to the increasing number of international schools opening.

"In countries like the UAE and Qatar the number of international teaching posts increases by 10 to 15 per cent. The Mena region is going to need more teachers than the west."

Ollier said the demand for British teachers specifically is higher than the supply because British curriculum schools are very popular worldwide for offering quality education.

He said the two years post-qualification experience being enforced in the UAE is one of the supply restricting factors. UK teachers not having a bachelor degree and not teaching subjects they majored in is another restriction, as Ollier said 28 per cent of primary teachers in the UK do not have a bachelor's degree and 30 per cent of maths and physics teachers don't have related degrees.

Other factors affecting teacher supply include visa restrictions, especially when it comes to teachers who are above 60 years old.

"Twenty-two per cent of teachers in the UK are above 55 years old, in New Zealand it is 21 per cent and in the US it is 16 per cent."

Warm climates, stability, money, social life, known destination, urban destinations, school branding is what attracts teachers abroad, said the expert.

In order to find suitable teachers to meet demand, Ollier said schools should advertise in various locations, consider alternative nationalities (Australian, New Zealanders, etc) and search on website career pages.

On the other hand, to retain teachers recruited abroad, he said schools should have good communication before arrival (because new teachers coming to a country for the first time would have a lot of questions and need reassuring), have a solid arrival and orientation programme and detect problems early.

During the forum, Dr Ayoub Kazim, Managing Director of Dubai Knowledge Village (DKV) and Dubai International Academic City (DIAC), said global transnational education (TNE) students are increasingly seeing Dubai as a global higher education hub, like the USA, UK, Australia and Canada,

Dr Ayoub said that Dubai's emergence as a global study destination was due to an expected increase in employment opportunities resulting from Expo 2020, safety and cultural concerns, a strategic geographical position, ease of acquiring visas and the global recognition of qualifications.

"Since 2009, there has been up to a five-fold increase in TNEs considering the UAE as a study destination, which Tecom's Education Cluster has directly impacted through a ten-fold increase in its student body to over 20,000 students since 2003, offering over 400 academic programmes," he said.

Whilst the UAE has risen as a preferred study destination by TNEs since 2009, the UK, USA, Australia and Canada have all faced a six to eight per cent drop in popularity, Dr Ayoub said, quoting the QS Trends in International Student Mobility report.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Sep 28, 2014
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