Teachers quit in droves for high paying Gulf posts

The prospect of earning the equivalent of five years’ salary in one year is luring South African teachers to classrooms in the Gulf, a university study has shown. But apart from the lure of higher earnings, teachers are being driven from South Africa by the high crime rate, religious intolerance, race-based policies, burgeoning class sizes and workloads and an ineffective curriculum, writes Suthentira Govender for the Sunday Times.

They are ending up, in the main, in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates. A study of the trend by University of KwaZulu-Natal masters student Tatum Niemack cites financial, religious, social and political reasons for it. There are no statistics readily available for the number of teachers who have left, but the South African Council for Educators (SACE), which issues teachers with the letters of professional standing needed to teach abroad, expressed “grave concern”. “This has implications for the brain drain and is leaving the country in short supply of the valuable experience and good teachers,” said SACE spokesperson Thembinkosi Ndhlovu.

The study found Abu Dhabi's salary packages are more lucrative than those in the United Kingdom, which used to attract many South African teachers with incentives such as “discount shopping cards, free internet and gift vouchers”. “Similar benefits were offered to South African teachers recruited to Abu Dhabi, with salary offers ranging from US$3,500 (about ZAR51,000) to US$5,500 a month, depending on the teacher’s years of experience and qualification,” the study says.
Full report on the Sunday Times site