Retaining teaching and leadership talent has become perhaps the biggest challenge facing education leaders in the MENA region. As the sector continues to experience unprecedented growth and economic activity, the question of how to retain quality teachers and faculty in this transient dynamic has started to receive significant attention. The current war for talent calls on market leaders to attract, engage with, motivate, progress and retain their best talent. But this is far from easy.
Nearing the highly anticipated EdEx MENA 2016, InformEdChat interviewed twelve expert education professionals, to share their views and tips on overcoming the teacher retention challenge in the sector. The report delves into the key reasons behind teaching and leadership staff attrition and asks what it would take to overcome these challenging elements.
“Teaching, yes; Leadership talent, not so much. For example, AUD’s senior leadership has not changed for twenty-one years.” – Lance De Masi, American University in Dubai
“We have very stringent processes of selecting members of our faculty. What we look for in a candidate are the qualities of ‘teacher leadership’. From a very small team of 5 teachers in the first year we have grown to an incredible cohesive team of 60 plus teachers in just three years. There have been some exceptions where some of the teachers had to relocate due to the transitory nature of the expat population.” – Poonam Heryani Aspam, International School Sharjah
“Retainment can often be a challenge in the Middle East. Teachers want to return to their home country or experience living in another part of the world. Surprisingly they can tire of 365 days’ sunshine a year!” – Neil Bunting, Greenfield School
“Yes, this is the case in Scotland/UK at the postgraduate level, but much less so in the UAE. It is also a problem for us in that we offer postgraduate programmes in 8 different countries, alongside a series or programmes in the UK, so a lot of teaching and travelling is required.” – Ron Bradfield, Strathclyde Business School
“Yes, retaining top talent in roles where their talent can be best used is a concern for our organisation. Too often, many of the best innovative teachers leave the classroom too early for career progression into administrator roles, robbing students of the best teachers. Retaining top quality school leaders is also a challenge. Many leave the profession to pursue higher paid executive roles outside of the profession where they feel more valued intrinsically and in terms of remuneration.” – Andrew Short, Cognition Education
“It depends on the specific school and the specific country. Yet, in order to retain talented teachers and leaders, schools have to regularly review and accommodate the needs of these individuals.” – Shukri Hunsi, School Development Consultants
“The number of teachers and school leaders currently being trained in higher education is unlikely to be sufficient to meet the demand and growth within the international schools’ market. Therefore, all premium quality schools and education companies around the world are faced with the issue of how to attract, retain and reward the best qualified international educators and school leaders.” – Rosamund Marshall, Taaleem
“As a new school we have a very small turn over. However, I understand the challenges of some school overseas to retain staff.” – Liam Cullinan, Nord Anglia International School Dubai
“The services and the inclusion programs we provide at our center, are catered towards students with special needs. Finding qualified therapists, qualified teachers, as well as experienced supervisors and consultants, is not easy. Dubai is a transient community; people come and go, and we as a company need to be on a constant search.” – Hiba Bahsoun, Stepping Stones Center
What are your thoughts on retaining leadership or teaching talent?