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Highly skilled migration in the Pacific island countries: the case of teacher migrants in Fiji

Carmen Voigt-Graf, University of the South Pacific

The paper examines the processes and impacts of teacher migration in Pacific Island Countries, with a focus on Fiji. Even though the proportion of highly skilled workers among migrants is comparatively low in Pacific Island countries, the loss of human resources is a particularly severe issue due to the limited human resource bases in Pacific Island countries. This paper will discuss the reasons for the international migration of teachers and their socio-demographic characteristics. Drawing on the results of a survey of secondary school principals in Fiji and interviews with teachers, and comparative studies in Tonga and Vanuatu, this paper discusses the consequences of teacher migration for Fiji’s education system and the country at large. It is argued that even though there is no teacher shortage in Fiji, teacher migration represents a definite brain drain as the best qualified and most experienced teachers are leaving. Finally, policy options will be discussed.

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Presented in Session 125: Migrant integration