Speid spanks Reid, Thwaites for teacher migration
Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) President Owen Speid has lashed out at former education ministers, describing their policies as disrespectful and a major trigger for the exodus from the classrooms to greener pastures.
While addressing the JTA’s half-yearly meeting at the St John’s Methodist Church in Montego Bay on Friday, Speid singled out the last two education ministers for stinging criticism, pointing to Ronald Thwaites’ reduction of tutors seeking training at teachers’ colleges and Ruel Reid’s opposition to school administrators’ collection of auxiliary fees.
“I remember the Honourable Demon, I mean Deacon Thwaites, when he was minister of education, he said that teachers’ colleges should stop training teachers because we had too many teachers, and that caused some of those institutions to have fewer people registering. The same Deacon Thwaites said teachers should seek employment elsewhere outside of teaching,” the JTA president said.
“The disrespect continued under Ruel Reid, because when teachers and principals were saying we need contributions from parents to carry out our programmes, the response that the Honourable Ruel Reid gave was to call the school administrators ‘extortionists’. Now they talk about teacher migration, but they’re lucky all of you not gone already,” Speid added.
The union boss said further that the migration of teacher would eventually affect educational outcomes.
The JTA recently raised concern over the issue of teacher migration, saying that Jamaica’s education sector would produce dysfunctional school graduates if the trend continued. Low salaries and lack of support have been cited among the reasons teachers leave the local school system and head overseas.
Speid also addressed reports that some newly recruited teachers have to wait several months to get their salaries.
“I’m getting more concerned that when the new teachers start teaching, they don’t get paid for up to four months, but they expect these teachers to dress up and come to school on time, and it is cruelty,” he said.