Appoint a full-time Education Minister, new JTA president urges Holness
Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer
Owen Speid, the newly-installed president of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA), wasted no time last night in speedily calling for Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, to appoint a full-time Minister of Education to fill the post left vacant following the departure of Ruel Reid.
Speid made the call during his presidential address at the JTA’s 55th annual conference, held at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort in Montego Bay, St James.
The three-day conference is being held this year under the theme “Empowering Educators: Retooling, Innovating and Networking for Sustainable Development.”
In his address, Speid said the absence of a definite Education Minister, along with the fact that other persons are also in acting positions at the Ministry, is creating a sense of uncertainty for teachers.
“At this time, we have an acting Minister, an acting permanent secretary, and an acting chief education officer. Can you imagine if the children at school and the janitor and everybody there started acting too? It is high time that the Prime Minister intervenes and names a full Minister,” said the JTA head.
“The Prime Minister needs to name a full Minister because, when he does that, he’ll put the Minister in a position to outline strategies for education going forward for the short-term, medium-term, and long-term. As it stands, I am not sure if there can be any policy outline for the next year or two because of the uncertainty caused by naming a Minister who is interim,” Speid added.
Currently, the Education Ministry is being manned by Minister without Portfolio Karl Samuda.
Samuda, who was Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, was assigned to the Education Ministry after Reid was sacked by Holness in March.
Reid was asked to resign amid ongoing investigations into allegations of corruption and nepotism at the ministry and some of the agencies over which he had oversight.