Refugee teachers struggle to find work

21st July 2000 at 01:00
REFUGEES who trained as teachers in their home countries are facing huge difficulties finding teaching jobs in the UK despite having skills in shortage subjects such as maths, writes Lynn Eaton.

The problem was highlighted by delegates at a conference run by Employability, a Government-backed organisation that aims to help qualified refugees find work.

Employability's director, Patrick Wintour, said many refugee teachers had been unable to obtain qualified teacher status.

At the conference, delegates repeatedly outlined their problems getting their qualifications recognised. Many were taking a City and Guilds course, but this only qualified them to teach in adult education.

Rosemarie Marke, who left Sierra Leone in 1997, wrongly thought she would walk into a teaching job in the UK. She even trained here, before returning to her home county. Eventually she got qualified status, but has yet to get a full-time job. She said: "I don't know what the problem is. I've got all the necessary qualifications they want, but still there is no chance."

Many delegates had to wait for their status to be confirmed before they could take the post-graduate certificate in education course. Otherwise they had to pay expensive overseas rates.

Ariel A Garcia, who taught maths and biology for four years in Colombia, said:

"Although there is a shortage of maths teachers here, you can't get a job."

Analysis, 22

For further information on teaching as a career contact the TTA's Teaching Information Line 01245 454454.

To find out if your overseas teaching qualification is recognised here, call the Department for Education and Employment Teacher Qualification Team on 01325 392120

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