In December last year, the UK announced that the country was seeking applications from graduate and qualified teachers to fill the void in the educational sector. The country also announced that visa application requirements for applicants from Africa had been reviewed and eased.
The news was welcomed with a large turnout, and the continent, which is already bleeding from a brain drain as a result of mass exodus in its health sector, is on the verge of losing some of its best hands in the educational sector.
But as more teachers are applying daily and taking advantage of what they believe is an opportunity for career advancement and a better life, no one is asking the obvious questions.
Why is there an education crisis in the United Kingdom leading to a shortage of teachers? Why are teachers in the United Kingdom resigning and experiencing a high rate of burnout? Why is the United Kingdom, with a population of about 67.33 million, experiencing a deficit in the educational sector despite the huge benefits attached to the position? Why has the UK turned to African teachers as an alternative to solving the educational crisis in their country?
In the answers to these questions lies the hidden truth behind the UK’s educational crisis and why African applicants should be careful and think twice before taking a gamble with their silver coin in pursuit of a gold one.
One of our goals in the New Year is to provide insights and rich background reports/investigations into current and topical issues and to ask the right questions to provide clarity to the general public.
As part of our commitment to achieve this, we have taken a critical look to better understand the situation and provide insight into the true reason behind the educational crisis in the United Kingdom and what African teachers cum educators should be informed about before making decisions.
What You Should Know About the Education Crisis in the UK
1. Financial Challenges
Before you make the decision to quit your job and sell off all your assets to fund your application and relocation to the United Kingdom as a teacher, you should be informed of the current situation of the educational sector in that country and what to expect.
Currently, schools in the UK are struggling in terms of finance, and according to experts, 90% of schools in England will run out of money soon, meaning that many of the schools recruiting teachers now will lay them off soon.
Do not just take our word for it, but an exclusive report released by the Guardian in November 2022 revealed that “nine out of 10 schools in England will have run out of money by the next school year as the enormous burden of increased energy and salary bills takes its toll.”
The report was based on the early data released by the National Association of Head Teachers, which shows that 50% of school heads say their schools will run into a deficit in 2023. The reason for this is related to comments made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, that all departments, including education, will have to “make cuts as part of the government’s debt reduction plan.”
Also speaking on the issues, the Rev Steve Chalke, whose Oasis foundation is in charge of 52 academies in England, said: “At this burn rate, in under three years we will be bankrupt. No one is in a position to keep going for very long eating their reserves.”
2. Poor Moral Standards
If you are expecting the same moral standards from students in the UK as what you are used to in African schools, then you are in for a shocker. Africans and people from other parts of the world who have taken teaching jobs in the United Kingdom have constantly complained about the mental and emotional trauma that they pass through dealing with students in the UK who get away with anything they do, while their educational failures and poor performance is blamed on the teacher.
Moh Ali, a Zimbabwean teacher in the United Kingdom, sharing his experience, said, “BEING a teacher in the UK is a horrible experience — it is a taste of hell. I was a teacher in Zimbabwe for over ten years. I loved my work; I remember assemblies where children would greet us in chorus. I was proud to be a teacher.”
In the same vein, Báyò Olúpohùndà, the Editor-in-chief of Opera and a renowned Editor with Legit, Punch, and Guardian, who was also a finalist at the CNN African Journo Award, Health Reporting, added his two cents, saying “The UK is inviting foreign teachers because even British educators are quitting the job in large numbers cos of students’ indiscipline & teachers’ burnout rate. Same in the US. Foreign teachers will find out quickly that they may not survive teaching in UK public schools.”
3. Lawlessness Aided by the System
There is a high level of lawlessness among students, which is aided by the system, and the teachers – especially African teachers, are at the mercy of the pupils/students. Another important thing to note is that many of the parents, guardians, and the students themselves are not in support of having African teachers. So, there is a lot of hate targeted at black teachers in the UK, and on most occasions, when issues arise, the culprits go unpunished.
Teachers in the United Kingdom are quitting en masse as a result, and this is one of the reasons behind this huge deficit of teachers in the United Kingdom at the moment.
According to the results from a recent survey of 1,788 teachers carried out by the National Education Union in the United Kingdom, 44% of the teachers intend to quit their jobs within the next couple of years, adding to the over 300,000 that resigned voluntarily within the past three years.
The time has long passed when we see every opportunity to travel out of the continent as the best option. There have been a lot of regrets from others who have taken such steps, and it is only wise for us to carry out our research and learn from the experiences of others.
Taking advantage of the current UK teacher recruitment opportunity is okay, but it is best to be informed of what to expect. So as to better prepare your mind and make a more rational decision that you will not end up regretting in the future.