International Outlook 2020 and beyond

August is the time when most teachers deploy to their new jobs abroad. We’ve heard back from many happy teachers who are on their Looking aheadway, but unfortunately we have also heard back from teachers who have come across visa or travel stumbling blocks, much more than normal.  The pandemic has made the world much more unpredictable, both at home and abroad, so I thought I would run through the current situation as we know it in the major regions we serve.

  • UAE. UAE schools are opening with social distancing.   We have noticed enrolment, jobs and salaries are dropping, and certain roles are not as highly sought as normal – Early Years/KG, Counsellors, PE, Drama, SEN, Social Studies/Humanities, and Art vacancies are rare right now.  Qatar is similar.
  • Kuwait. Most schools are using an online model until government guidance is more clear. Schools have been told by the government to cut fees by 25%, and there have been drops in enrolment resulting in some contracts being withdrawn. 
  • Oman. The Omani government has told schools they cannot open until 1 November, even online.   Egypt is delaying full or socially distanced opening as well.
  • China. Chinese schools are opening normally and enrolment is holding steady as Covid numbers are extremely low, but teachers outside of China are still facing uncertainty in terms of /how/when they can arrive. US citizens in particular are facing a huge uphill battle, given the tension between both countries.  There is demand for teachers, and we expect a surge of need for December/January jobs once the immigration routes in are cleared. China will be a bright spot.. once you can get there.  Hong Kong is currently teaching online only but hopefully will reopen soon.
  • South East Asia. Schools are opening and enrolment in the mid-range schools seems to be fine, though the top tier is likely to suffer. However, teachers outside of these countries are having challenges getting in so most schools only want to hire those already in country right now.
  • Europe, Latin America, Africa. Covid and the resulting economic crises have affected much of these regions, as their international schools rely on disposable income.

Looking ahead to 2021, we anticipate a surge in demand from China once the border pathways are clear. Schools in China have hired teachers in China to fill gaps that perhaps were not the best fit for these demanding, academic schools, so they will be looking to replace with better teachers currently outside of China.

In countries that have suffered economically, it remains to be seen how quickly the international school market recovers. We anticipate that core subjects (English, Mathematics, Science, and Elementary/Primary) will remain in demand though much depends on government policy. If schools can open normally, then demand should be relatively stable. If schools open with social distancing, we can expect a continued depressed demand for certain subjects like EY/KG, Arts, PE and Counsellors. If schools are online only, then demand will drop, and if borders are closed or very tightly restricted, there will be higher demand for those already in-country.  Middle management jobs will likely decrease as schools look to save money and “do more with less” in regions that are being challenged economically such as those that rely on tourism or high oil prices.

Most experts think we will have a vaccine sometime in 2021, and it's then a matter of how fast it can be deployed. A wide and safe deployment will mean that freedom of movement will open up, and it will be then a matter of economics. The more robust the host economy, the more international school demand there will be.  For all teachers, being flexible and adaptable is important as we all look ahead to 2021.   We have all been through the ringer this year – schools, teachers and our team at Edvectus. We have all realised just how important it is to be adaptable, resilient and able to change with changing circumstances. We’ve all had to learn how to deal with uncertainty this year, and that’s a good life skill to take with you wherever you go.

Please let us know your plans for 2021. We are already taking some vacancies for January and expect forward thinking schools in robust locations to be hiring early for August. You can Log into your Candidate Portal or fill out this form HERE

Leave a comment