Teacher dearth is global

11th August 2000 at 01:00
YOU report that 5,000 maths vacancies were advertised in The TES last year (TES, July 28). This is echoed by headteacher John Atkins' experiences in attempting to recruit maths teachers for Kemnal Technology College, Kent, where only six applicants were found after an eight-month search.

What we see here reflects a worldwide problem where 13 out of 15 European Union states face teacher shortages and the USA is in the grip of the biggest recruitment crisis for a generation. Several Australian states are experiencing difficulties, New Zealand is marketing its vacancies throughout the English-speaking world, and even Canada, which has some of the highest-paid teachers on the planet, cannot always fill its maths and scince posts.

At TimePlan, with our network covering four continents, we see a wider set of issues which demonstrate that there are global skills shortages in maths, computing technology, and science teacher recruitment.

The crux of the problem is economic success. Graduates of these subjects are sought by the financial sector, by commerce and by industry.

Education all over the world is struggling to compete, and while the Government has made a start with its changes to the work-permit regime, it still has a long way to go if Britain is to compete in the international race to recruit.

Chris King

Director of education

TimePlan Education Group

20-21 Arcadia Avenue

London N3

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