September 24, 2022
The Caribbean Centre for Educational Planning (CCEP), located at The University of the West Indies is conducting a series of research studies on the issue of Jamaica’s recent experience with teacher migration. Some early findings from an online survey, which was based on an instrument developed by the CCEP show:
- Of a sample of 158 respondents, comprising 75.8% females and 24.2% males, 45.7% reported that they have left the Jamaican classroom and are now working overseas, while 41.4% report that they are “seriously contemplating migration”.
- Eighty-six per cent (86%) of respondents, either disagree or strongly disagree that the government does not have control over the factors that are driving teacher migration.
- Approximately 92% of respondents disagree or strongly disagree that the government has done its best to address the factors that are driving teacher migration, while 88% agree or strongly agree that the government has control over the factors that are driving teacher migration.
- The top three factors identified by respondents as driving teacher migration are:
- Working conditions
Approximately 94% (93.7%) of respondents were of the view that low salary is a major driver of migration, while 88.6% suggested that lack of resources, followed by working conditions at 82.9% were among the main factors driving teacher migration.
|What would you regard as the top six pressing problems affecting the education sector in Jamaica which contribute to teachers migrating? (Please list in order of strength.)||Number of Respondents||%||What incentives would encourage you to remain in teaching in Jamaica? (Please list in order of importance.)||Number of Respondents|
|Salary||85||54||Salary||101 or 64%||64|
|Lack of Resources||35||22|
When the following two open-ended questions were asked, the following responses were received:
- Teachers with twenty or more years of experience account for the largest category of respondents (29.3%), followed by eleven to fifteen years (20.4%). This means that a significant percentage of teachers who have migrated or who are seriously considering migration are the most senior.
It may be argued that the data suggest at least four things, namely:
- With over 40% of respondents indicating that they are seriously thinking of migrating, the likelihood that the country will be facing the current crisis in the immediate term is high and highlights the urgency of policy action to contain the crisis.
- A substantial percentage (88%) holding the view that government is not doing its best to address the problems driving teacher migration raises the spectre of continued high levels of teacher dissatisfaction and signals the need for greater responsiveness on the part of the government.
- The fact that it is the most senior of teachers who are migrating or planning to migrate will have a severe impact on the quality of teaching.
- The specificity of the issues which concern teachers and which are deemed to be the drivers of migration (salaries, resources, and working conditions) means that unless efforts are made to address these, the crisis will hardly be mitigated unless these factors are addressed or if conditions in recruiting countries deteriorate and become unattractive.
The Leadership Reimagination website is here reproducing material published by the CCEP.
Dr. Canute Thompson is Senior Lecturer in Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership at the School of Education, The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, and Head of the Caribbean Centre for Educational Planning. He is author of two award-winning books and articles, among his collection seven books and over a dozen journal articles, and the operator of leadershipreimagination.com website.