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Indian maths, science teachers in demand in UK, says new report

India is among the source countries for qualified mathematics and science teachers being lured with “international relocation payments” of GBP 10,000 as part of an overseas drive to fill classroom vacancies in England, according to a UK media report on Saturday. Hundreds of maths, science and language teachers will be brought to the UK from countries such as India and Nigeria this year, with plans to expand recruitment schemes to other countries and subjects, ‘The Times’ newspaper said.

The International Relocation Payments (IRP), being run as a pilot in the 2023 to 2024 academic year, is applicable to overseas teachers with a job offer in the UK and covers their cost of visas, immigration health surcharge and other relocation expenses.

UK officials reportedly expect between 300 and 400 teachers to get the IRPs in the coming academic year and if it proves a success in attracting overseas staff, the scheme could be extended to other subjects.

In an effort to boost the number of teachers, the government has begun an overseas recruitment initiative under which teachers of maths, science and language-teaching qualifications from India, Ghana, Singapore, Jamaica, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe are being recognised, the report said.

Eligible teachers must have a degree, recognised teacher-training qualifications, and at least a year’s experience and they need to speak English to the undergraduate level.

Such professionals are eligible for visas to work in Britain if they have a job offer and earn a minimum salary that depends on their role, usually around GBP 27,000 per annum. Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the UK’s National Association of Head Teachers, told ‘The Times’ that overseas recruitment “is, at best, a temporary solution”. “In March we launched a one-year trial offering no more than 400 of the best teachers from around the world the opportunity to teach in our schools. This is one of many options we are exploring to ensure there is an excellent teacher for every child,” the Department for Education (DfE) said in a statement.

The move comes at a time when there is a raging debate over the UK’s record net migration figures released earlier this week, which British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak admitted were “too high”.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has set out plans for a clampdown on family dependants on student visas being limited only to PhD level graduates.