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Friday, 16 February, 2001, 14:31 GMT
UK 'behind SA brain drain'
School students in the playground
South African schools may be losing talented teachers
The South African Government has criticised the UK for poaching the country's best teachers.

South Africa's Education Minister Kadar Asmal said that British recruiters are "raiding" the country's resources at a crucial time in the nation's development.

Kader Asmal
Kader Asmal says South Africa and the UK should work together on teacher recruitment
British education authorities are currently experiencing a teacher shortage and are looking abroad for talent.

South African teaching unions have said that they understand the desire of many to go abroad as there are better salaries and better working conditions on offer.

Talks needed

Mr Asmal said he had no problem with individual teachers working abroad, but argued that "consultation between the two governments would ensure that the interests of both countries could be taken into account".

There are no official statistics about the number of teachers who have left South Africa, but estimates put the figure at about 8000.

The British agency recruiting in South Africa has said that there is a surplus of teachers in the country, so they are not acting against South Afriica's interests.

Mr Asmal's statement comes ahead of a visit to South Africa by four British headteachers who will be interviewing 200 teachers for vacancies in the UK.

The "brain drain" has not only had an impact on South Africa's teaching profession, the country has also lost a large number of doctors and nurses.

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See also:

22 Feb 00 | Africa
UN tackles African brain drain
13 Feb 01 | Africa
Eritrean brain drain row
06 Feb 01 | Education
Teacher shortage 'damaging schools'
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