More teachers than vacancies
Jermaine Francis, Gleaner Writer
There are more teachers being trained than spaces available in public schools.
Checks with seven of the island's teachers' colleges revealed that more than 1,200 teacher trainees could possibly be exiting these institutions next month. However, president of the the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) Clayton Hall said almost 600 teachers are needed each year to fill vacancies left by retired teachers. That is why he is taking Education Minister Ronald Thwaites to task over his latest pronouncement that these vacancies may not be filled by new teachers.
On Sunday, Thwaites announced that the Government does not have the latitude to employ any new teachers come September.
But Hall, in chiding him, said "The Minister's statements are unfortunate, illogical and short-sighted and leaves a lot of questions to be asked."
How will vacancies be filled
Hall is calling on Minister Thwaites to say how the vacancies will be filled when hundreds of teachers retire from the public-school system this year, as they do every year. He noted that if these vacancies are not filled, many schools will be under staffed.
" If we have no new teachers, we can expect a catastrophic outcome. The idea is absurd," Hall told The Gleaner yesterday.
He is also calling on Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and the education minister to clarify whether the plan to not hire any new teacher is a Cabinet policy.
However, Thwaites said the plan to freeze the number of teachers entering the education system is a stipulation of the current International Monetary Fund agreement.
He is insisting that there is an imbalance in how teachers are deployed across schools. He said the underutilised teachers will be able to fill the shortfall where needed.
Thwaites noted that few of these graduates with specialised training will be absorbed in the system as special teachers.
However, he's encouraging others to possibly look abroad for jobs or search for employment outside of the classrooms.