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Monday, 17 February, 2003, 18:02 GMT
Teacher shortage lessens in US
New York
New York schools have been hiring teachers in the UK
The teacher shortage in the United States is showing signs of diminishing.

As in the United Kingdom, schools in the US have faced a prolonged recruitment problem - with an estimated two million extra staff required by the end of the decade.

But reports now suggest an increase in applications.

This has been attributed to tougher times in the private sector labour market - with people looking to the security of a career in teaching.

This would confirm a pattern that has been forecast in the UK - that the teacher shortage has owed much to the buoyancy of the labour market, with young people opting for better-paid private sector jobs.

There have also been claims that an increase in recruits for teaching in the US reflects the success of schemes to attract mature applicants from other careers.

Staff quitting

But a recent report in the US has warned that the "teacher shortage" has been misunderstood - and that greater efforts need to be made in retaining rather than recruiting staff.

According to the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, a third of new teachers leave the profession within three years - and 50% have left after five years.

The commission says that "it's not that we have too few teachers entering our schools, it's that too many are leaving".

"More than a quarter of a million teachers stop teaching every year; the cumulative effect is that high teacher turnover and attrition are undermining teaching quality.

The teacher shortage has become widespread in the developed world - and has prompted efforts to recruit teachers from overseas.

While schools in the UK have hired many teachers from South Africa, Australia, Canada and New Zealand - in the United States, authorities have begun seeking teachers from the UK.

See also:

30 Jan 03 | Scotland
22 Apr 01 | Education
09 Oct 00 | Education
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