“Teachers and teaching” is one of the ten priority areas of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 16-25). The strategic objectives of the CESA 16-25 aims to achieve by 2025 is to fully reorient African education and training systems towards the achievements of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 on education. This includes recruitment, training, and deployment of qualified teachers; as well as promoting continuous professional development to enhance their status and value in society.
In order to achieve universal primary and secondary education by 2030, one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 19.6 million primary and secondary school teachers need to be hired in Africa. A steadily growing school-age population exacerbates the problem. Despite the high unemployment rates in many countries, teaching positions remain vacant. As a result of the pressure to fill the vacant positions, many countries are recruiting teachers who lack the most basic training, or they are working in over-crowded classrooms (UIS, 2016).
As one of the phenomena to solve the problem of teacher shortage, recruiting international migrant teachers has been the norm for several decades. However, the trend has not attracted enough attention from education policy makers in Africa. At the global level, some studies show that countries which send and receive migrant teachers often face a problem of teacher shortage. Receiving countries resort to international recruitment because they cannot meet the domestic demand for teachers. Sending countries argue that international recruitment is “poaching” teachers who are trained locally and this further exacerbates their teacher shortage. Nevertheless, given the time needed for teacher training and the limited supply, which cannot cope with the pace of the growing demand, international recruitment has been a common practice.
The number of migrants has also risen rapidly in the past years for various reasons, including job opportunities, labor shortages, internal conflicts, wars, natural disasters, climate change, and improved access to information through the Internet. The number of international migrants rose from 175 million in 2000 to more than 247 million in 2013, or 3.4 percent of the world population. The number of refugees in 2014 was 14.4 million and about 86 percent of refugees are hosted by developing countries.
As the distribution of qualified teachers is uneven across the continent, it is useful to develop structures to manage the mobility of this important human resource. Although many African countries experience serious shortages of teachers, overall and in specific subject areas, a number of African countries produce an apparent excess of teachers, whereby many teachers are unemployed. In many cases, significant proportions of teachers in primary and secondary schools are untrained or unqualified.
There are some initiatives to guide ethical recruitment of professionals across national borders, such as the Commonwealth Teacher Mobility Protocol. While this tool provides a guiding framework for recruitment of international migrant teachers within the Commonwealth members, it includes only 18 AU member states and does not cover all the key issues pertinent to Africa, including gender and Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Thus, the African Union Commission (AUC) proposed to develop a continental protocol that caters for Africa and takes into account the issues mentioned above.
The Continental Protocol assists the AU Member States in developing or fine-tuning national teacher recruitment and development policies and practices.
Between 2009 and 2012, the AUC carried out situational analyses of the status of teacher inadequacies in African countries based on the vision of the African Union, the Second Decade of Education for Africa Plan of Action, as well as considering the existing initiatives such as the Protocol for the Recruitment of Commonwealth Teachers. A model for teacher mobility across Africa using all data collected has been developed, outlining the roles of Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Ministries of Education, and recruiting agencies. Based on the situation analyses of Anglophone and Francophone countries, a draft Continental Teacher Mobility Protocol was prepared and presented at the Conference of Ministers of Education for the African Union (COMEDAF V) in 2012.
Download the complete consultancy call TOR_TeacMobility Protocol_IICBA_20-03-2018 (00000002)