Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Overseas jobs are a great option for Indian teachers

Even as the going gets tough for Indian techies, various other skilled workers could consider looking for jobs overseas. School teachers, for instance, have a great opportunity in the US, in view of the projected shortage of 700,000 teaching instructors. And obviously, the advantage that Indian teachers enjoy are English speaking skills and a high standard of education.

The reasons for shortage of teachers in the US are similar to the healthcare sector and include low regard for the profession, low pay and high turnover. According to the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, a third of new teachers in the US leave the profession within three years --and half leave after five years.

While the teaching profession in the US has attracted spouses of L1 visa holders who take up jobs not only for the money, but to accompany their children to school, some teachers from India go to the US under the Visiting International Faculty, which is a US government-recognized exchange-programme sponsor that searches the world over for talented teachers dedicated to educational excellence and the ideals of cultural exchange.

“We match these teachers with select primary and secondary schools in the US, and we provide teachers and schools unparalleled
support. The result: classroom success and teachers, students and community members with a new, more global perspective. A number of teachers from India, about 20, are participating as VIF teachers this school year for the first time,’’ a VIF official told news persons the other day.

The programme was started in 1989 as a cultural exchange for teachers and schools and has remained true to its roots even as the number of participating teachers has grown from 12 to more than 1,800 from more than 50 nations. In fact, it is the largest cultural exchange programme for teachers in America recognized by the State Department.

VIF sponsors teachers (kindergarten-12th grade) using US overnment-issued cultural exchange visas (non-mmigrant intent). The visas are valid for one year and can be renewed for two additional years - a total of three years. At the end of three years, teachers must return to their home nations.

"VIF teachers serve as full-time classroom teachers and also as cultural ambassadors, sharing the culture, history and heritage of their nations in the classroom and host community. In short, they teach US schoolchildren (and adults) about the world. After three years, they take away all they have learned about the US education system and share it in their countries' schools and communities, adding a brain gain component for their nations. In that way, cultural exchange goes full
circle,’’ the official said.

Though not long term, the teaching assignments give Indian teachers a chance to travel extensively in the US since they can teach in 10 states spread around the country. “VIF provides comprehensive support services to teachers and schools to ensure classroom success and a rewarding experience. As a result, an independently conducted survey of VIF teachers found that 95% would recommend VIF to a friend or colleague,’’ the official said.

There is also a great demand for Indian teachers in the Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and Oman. The most attractive prospect for job seekers in the Gulf is that working there provides the opportunity to save a major part of one’s salary with tax-free income and free housing. Except for food, telephone and recreation, most other expenses of daily living are provided in addition to the salary. Many of these countries have been giving a high priori ty to education and setting up schools.

On the flip side of going on international assignments for teachers is the problem of returning to India and the resulting change in lifestyle and adjusting to lower salaries. For instance, a huge shortage of school teachers in the UK a few years ago saw a big recruitment drive by agencies in India. But when the demand dried up, the teachers found themselves without jobs and in many cases had to pack their bags and return home. Many were even deported.

No comments:

Explore more

Custom Search