Education has increasingly come to be seen as a potent development tool, not least because the quality of the education system today affects a country's development for decades to come. The migration of teachers - both internationally by way of emigration and internally within countries - may adversely affect the quality of education especially in a country like Fiji with a limited human resource capacity. The emigration of workers, particularly of highly skilled workers who are endowed with high levels of human capital, has severe implications for a small country like Fiji. The emigration of teachers who are the largest professional group of migrants has led to the filling of vacancies by less experienced and junior teachers and is widely believed to have led to falling educational standards. In addition to international migration, there is substantial internal migration of teachers, mostly away from remote schools to urban areas. Rural schools find it particularly difficult to recruit and keep qualified and experienced personnel. In the process, rural areas have been drained of some of their best human resources. This article provides an overview of the scale of migration of secondary teachers from Fiji, raises development issues connected to the international and internal migration of teachers, describes policy responses that this migration has elicited and identifies areas requiring further research with a view to making policy recommendations as well as contributing to the literature on skilled migration in the Pacific.
|Asia Pacific Viewpoint
|Published - 2003