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Liveable wages will attract men to teaching, says PIOJ director

Published:Thursday | April 25, 2019 | 12:00 AMAlbert Ferguson-Gleaner Writer
Steven Kerr, director of the Human and Community Development Unit at the Planning Institute of Jamaica.


Steven Kerr, director of the Human and Community Development Unit at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), says that more men will begin to gravitate to the teaching profession if their remuneration is boosted by liveable wages and allowances.

Kerr was speaking against the background of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association’s (JTA) decision to accept a 16 per cent wage increase over the contract period spanning April 1, 2017, to March 31, 2021, for the more than 26,000 public school teachers affiliated to the union.

Under the deal the JTA has inked with the Government, it will see teachers receiving an increase of five per cent in the first year and two and four per cent in the second and third years, respectively. It will conclude with five per cent in the final year.

“We need to reclassify the teaching profession. This is just from the heart, as a teacher. We need to look at the starting salary of teachers. If you do all of these things, more males will come into the profession,” said Kerr, who was speaking at the JTA’s 18th annual education conference on gender and the teaching profession, implications for teaching and learning, in Montego Bay.

Role models

Jamaica has been experiencing a decline in the number of male teachers, and several top educators have said that the situation is affecting the performance and development of boys. They contend that more male teachers are needed to, among other things, provide guidance to boys and give them positive role models to emulate.

“Jasper, (making reference to Owen Speid, the president-elect of the JTA), as the president coming in, think on these things,” said Kerr. “What is a good starting salary for a teacher? What are the allowances that all teachers must have? What is a liveable wage for a teacher?”

The PIOJ director says he also believes that the teaching profession is in need of rebranding in order to make it more relevant and attractive so that more people may consider teaching their career choice.

“Finally, we need a national agenda towards marketing and branding teaching as a high-status profession,” Kerr insisted.