London educational agencies are intensifying their recruitment of Jamaican teachers.
Advertisements in the Jamaican newspapers this week are looking for teachers with degree level qualification to take up fixed term contracts for up to four years.
The teachers will be placed at two primary schools in London. The recruitment is raising fresh concerns about the future of Jamaica’s education system.
They’re offering salaries starting at $4.3-million, up to as high as JMD$5-million a year for a primary school teacher.
That’s about three times the salary a teacher with a degree makes in Jamaica.
According to President of the Jamaica Teachers Association, Norman Allen, that average Jamaican teachers salary is $1.5-million Jamaican dollars per year.
The London recruiters are also throwing in a month’s salary in advance, subsidized housing, and a free laptop and iPad.
Job interviews will start in Kingston and Montego Bay next month.
CEO of the think tank, Educate-Jamaica dot-org, Ainsworth Derby, says the exodus of Jamaican teachers will soon become a crisis.
In an article published in the UK’s Guardian newspaper last October, one recruiter, Geoff Brown, from Hourglass Education, says he has a preference for Jamaican teachers.
Brown says his agency alone recruited 151 Jamaican teachers last year.
Brown says he also recruits from other countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, but those persons tend to stay for only a year, travel around Europe and take long vacations.
He says he prefers Jamaicans because, “If you get a Jamaican, he or she is here for life.” But JTA President Norman Allen doesn’t see a problem.
He says says the Jamaican system can handle the losses, because there is an over supply of teachers.
He’s also encouraging Jamaican teachers to think twice about the offer, because teaching conditions in London aren’t ideal. And he would know.
Darby splits his time between Jamaica and London, where he works for the British government as Education Coordinator for the Borough of Islington.
So although the London offer may seem like one Jamaica simply can’t compete with financially, Darby says there’s hope Jamaican teachers will see the benefit in staying at home.