JTA says it supports voluntary relocation
The Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) is distancing itself from claims from the education ministry that attempts to have teachers relocate are being blocked.
JTA President Dr Mark Nicely says while the association fully supports voluntary relocation, the ministry is yet to establish a mutually agreed protocol to guide the process.
The JTA head says the education minister's claim that teachers earn tenure once they serve for one year in a clear vacant position is not accurate.
Nicely says after a year in a clear vacant position, teachers are to be evaluated and then school boards decide whether to appoint them or extend the probation period.
The education ministry is pursuing the relocation of the teachers as part of the the deal with the International Monetary Fund which puts a freeze on the hiring of new teachers.
Poor-performing GSAT students should focus on math, English - Thwaites
Education Minister Ronald Thwaites has described as "futile nonsense" the offering of nine to 13 subjects to grade-seven students.
Speaking to members of the media and education stakeholders last week, Thwaites said this was in the context of secondary schools that are receiving students with very low passes in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).
He said focus should be placed on English and math.
Thwaites said once the basics of secondary-level literacy and numeracy is established, all other subjects can be added.
He said this was a fundamental switch in the approach by the ministry to influence the educational outcomes of students.
He also added that teaching the basics of English and mathematics at the secondary level and developing competence in technical and vocational areas is of great importance.
Transport Authority working on PPV registry
The Transport Authority will next February introduce a registry of owners and operators of public passenger vehicles (PPVs) as it targets the unlicensed ones.
The registry is to be established in time for the new licensing period for public passenger operators.
Communications manager at the authority, Petra-Kene Williams, says the registry will complement the agency's Badge Information Management System.
She also says the Transport Authority has been on a drive to enhance the use of technology in enforcement and monitoring in the public-passenger sector.
Williams says the badge information system is used to keep records of approved drivers and conductors of PPVs.
Ministry frustrated by teachers' failure to move
Pointing to a poor-performing Corporate Area high school with 23 guidance counsellors and only two mathematics teachers, the education ministry has expressed frustration at efforts to get teachers to voluntarily relocate to schools where they are most needed.
The ministry has explained that most of the 23 teachers are trained in guidance and counselling but are teaching other subjects for which they are also trained.
The 1980 Education Regulations forbid the transfer of teachers and as a result, the Government cannot unilaterally move teachers to areas where it is determined that they are most needed.
At a meeting with stakeholders last week, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites disclosed that since the start of the new school year, 200 teachers have participated in the voluntary relocation effort.