The Deccan Herald today (26th August), has an article on how unaided private schools in Karnataka, and specifically Bangalore are facing a huge challenge starting classes in the offline mode due to a shortage of teachers.  The article goes on to state how many teachers were let go of during the pandemic as schools shifted to an online mode and parents refused to pay fees. Many school teachers sought greener pastures to earn their livelihood in the absence of a regular income. In general some schools may be facing an almost 50% teacher deficit. The situation is desperate and calls for dire measures even as there is a ballooning jobs crisis in general. While schools are now asking the govt. for financial support, the immediate challenge will be to re-hire teachers to conduct classes with no promises on their long term retention. 

What measures might school managements employ to quickly ramp up the teacher headcount. What are the ideas which have yielded results in other industries. Let’s look at some best practices in hiring which could be used by schools.

  1. Using references – While most organisations give a preference to hiring candidates referred by their own employees, providing a monetary incentive to the existing employee for each of his or her referrals who joins makes it a win-win on all counts. Most organisations who have large hiring requirements have a standard incentive structure which encourages employees to get their friends over. Not only do employees understand the organisation and its requirements, they are also able to better promote the merits to the right audience. Moreover the cost of hiring still remains lower than that by using an outside agency.
  2. Using social media campaigns – In addition to using recruitment databases, many organisations have an active social media hiring campaign. The high penetration of platforms like Facebook allows a low cost method to reach out to potential hires.
  3. Tapping into the gig economy – In our urban areas there is no dearth of educated, qualified and talented individuals who are looking for additional sources of income or even to just keep themselves busy. This could include housewives who do not want a full time job but are comfortable with a half-day engagement at half price. These part-time teachers may not be looking for a career just yet and are happy to contribute to a noble profession like teaching. With some quick training they could very well be conducting classes. Many insurance organisations have used a model like this to great effect. 
  4. Using short term contract employees – While Governments specialise in exploiting lower cost temporary teachers, there might be a case for the private sector to turn the tables and employ teachers on short term contract with a better cash-in-hand offer than their full time employees. This might help the schools hire faster and also have the flexibility to down size later without impacting their brand. Many IT organisations have resorted to this mode for specific skill sets. 

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