There are fears that Fiji stands to lose more teachers to other countries, as the Education Ministry says around 900 teachers in the last year applied for leave to visit overseas, of which only 48 percent have returned.
Now the fear is whether the remaining 52 percent will make a return before the start of the school year.
Permanent Secretary Selina Kuruleca highlights that these teachers went on family vacations to countries such as America, New Zealand, and Australia, where the demand for teaching professionals is at an all-time high.
She adds that the Ministry is optimistic that teachers will return to an already depleting profession.
“You go across, you see something, you like it, and you want to stay. That’s freedom of choice. But we want to impress upon you that your children here need you; we need you to come back. That’s what I want to impress upon the teachers and their families. We will always respect, at the end of the day, the decision you come up with.”
She also reveals that only a few teachers are bonded.
Kuruleca also highlights plans in place for prioritizing teacher welfare, which could help us retain professionals.
“We will obviously try to smooth talk to you, motivate you, and encourage you to stay here, but we also respect individual choice. We want to make it more lucrative and attractive for you to come back. We’re working on a few plans, which will be disclosed in due course.”
In anticipation of the return of teachers currently on overseas leave, the Education Ministry is taking proactive measures to retain the teachers.