THE EDITOR, Sir:
The Ministry of Education continues to pay out millions of dollars to satisfy the wage demands of teachers, but student outcomes remained dismal.
There are two major reasons for the dismal outcomes, and both must be shared by the education ministry and the teachers.
On the one hand, the Ministry of Education must take full responsibility for the scarcity of teaching resource materials such as textbooks and science laboratory materials. Consequently, the lack thereof is the reason teachers are inadequately equipped to do their job effectively.
On the other hand, there is a significant number of elementary and junior high schools in Kingston and the lower sections of St Andrew that are overstaffed - where there are fewer than 30 students to one teacher. However, a close examination of the outcome in scholastic achievements shows no difference from those children in schools in which overcrowding is endemic.
The scholastic achievements of an overcrowded class, where there are more than 45 students, perform much the same as a class of 30 or lower in marginalised schools and where both teachers are university graduates.
However, it is also noteworthy to empathise that these highly qualified teachers are paid well and the same regardless of geographic location, demography, even if performing less than 'proficient'.
While there is an agreement in place for a wage freeze, it is only right to ensure that teachers who are outstanding performers are paid well.
Highly proficient educators must be retained, and initiative rewarded based on scholastic achievement level of the students.
G. GEORGE WILSON
Springfield, St Elizabeth