Teacher salary differentials using Purchasing Power Parity (PPP): a South African perspective as both a ‘source’ and ‘destination’ country
Teacher migration is a problem for developing countries as it impacts on delivery of quality education. The potential to earn higher incomes remains the most common factor driving teacher migration. This study seeks to investigate how the South African teacher salary structure compares with the equivalent salary structure in six prominent migrating countries whilst highlighting the economic appeal of South Africa from a Zimbabwean teacher perspective.
Using a representative basket of commonly bought goods (including food, entertainment, fuel and utilities), a purchasing power parity (PPP) ratio is used to equalise the international price of buying that basket. Our study makes comparisons, using a PPP index, and allows the identification of real differences in salaries for our selected countries (South Africa, United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Zimbabwe) for selected teaching categories. Even when controlling for differences in the cost of living, the incentive for a South African teacher to seek work overseas remains strong and increases with career experience. A worrying conclusion for South Africa concerned with keeping its experienced teachers is that as more human capital is gained by experience, the greater the incentive to emigrate.