Thu | Nov 14, 2019

St Ann, Trelawny principals hold job fair to find teachers

Published:Friday | July 26, 2019 | 12:16 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
Ava Lawrence (right) head of the science department at Aabuthnott Gallimore High School, congratulates Dayle Evans, principal, Holland High School on the successful staging of the job fair for teachers on Wednesday. Others in picture are Marion Case, (second left) vice principal and Marvia Belinfantie, senior teacher of science, both at Aabuthnott Gallimore.

Faced with the prospect of an inadequate number of teachers at their institutions come September, high-school principals in St Ann and Trelawny staged a job fair on Wednesday in Brown’s Town, St Ann.

Dayle Evans, principal of Holland High School in Martha Brae, Trelawny, who proposed the job fair, said the exercise was successful. It was held at the Brown’s Town campus of Church Teachers’ College and endorsed by the Ministry of Education Region Three.

On successive editions of the Sunday Gleaner in July, high schools in both parishes advertised for teachers to fill vacancies for the new academic year starting in September, with some institutions having double-digit vacancies to fill.

In Trelawny, for example, Holland High School needs 13 teachers and Troy High needs 11, while in St Ann, Steer Town Academy also needs 13, and Marcus Garvey Technical, 11.

Around 70 teachers are needed in both parishes, based on the advertisements, with the majority of positions being clear vacancies.

“We are now seeking teachers for about 13 positions (at Holland High) and that gave rise to the need for this job fair,” Evans explained.

“We have an association of school leaders in Region Three, so we do things together. It is really a collective approach to recruitment.”

Administrators from Aabuthnott Gallimore, York Castle, Muschett, Brown’s Town and Holland high schools met with the teachers who turned out.

Evans gave varying reasons for the shortage of educators at his school, which could apply to other institutions. He highlighted recruitment by overseas employers, ending of contracts and teacher relocation.

EXCELLENT TURNOUT

Evans described the turnout of teachers at the job fair as “excellent” and expressed confidence that he would fill all vacancies at his school.

But Vice-Principal at Aabuthnott Gallimore, Marion Case, could only report partial success. “We’re still unable to find a physics teacher, or [even] an applicant for Physics or business education, but we are hopeful that somebody would have learnt of this and still make an application,” he said.

St Ann and Trelawny are not the only parishes with high schools that have several teaching positions vacant, a situation which is the norm at this time of the year. However, one teacher expressed the view that the situation this year seems more challenging, with more teachers apparently choosing to work overseas.