Pay up! - Educate Jamaica says $250,000 monthly salary needed to keep mathematics and science teachers in classroom
Education think tank, Educate Jamaica, has estimated that it will take a minimum monthly salary of $250,000 to stem the flow of mathematics and science teachers leaving the classroom.
Data from the Ministry of Education indicate that 494 mathematics and science teachers exited the public education system in 2015.
According to the think tank, "24 to 36 months from now will see the biggest exodus of mathematics and science teachers from Jamaican classrooms".
This exodus, it says, can only be halted by offering these teachers a monthly salary of $250,000.
A trained teacher at the entry level earns approximately $90,000 after tax.
"Only a salary of J$250,000 each month (after tax) will tempt these teachers to stay or tempt Jamaicans to return from these overseas countries to take up back their jobs. The other option will be for Jamaica to recruit teachers from Asian, South American and African countries such as Nigeria and Ghana to fill the gap being left," the think tank said in an article on its website.
Explaining how he arrived at this figure, Ainsworth Darby, chief executive of Educate Jamaica, said he compared the salaries of teachers in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Darby also argued that a proposal to offer scholarships to attract more students to train as mathematics and science teachers should be complemented by offering more pay to these teachers.
News reports have indicated that education minister Ronald Thwaites has backed down from a controversial differentiated-payment proposal for math and science teachers.
Darby however, believes this was a wrong decision that should be revisited. He also argued that the recruitment measure announced by Thwaites will not be enough to effectively fill the gap of mathematics and science teachers leaving the system.
Thwaites has said the proposal to pay math and science teachers more than their colleagues will not be dismissed.
However, he said the ministry hopes that the recruitment measure will help to replace the more than 500 math and science teachers who have left local classrooms within the last 12 months.