Letter of the Day | Irregular payment of teacher salaries is heartless
THE EDITOR, Madam:
I have a very perplexing issue that I have to share with you and the public. This concerns the irregular payment of teacher salaries from the Ministry of Education.
I am a new teacher in the system, teaching at a secondary school in Region 2. I started working in this job in March 2021 and have submitted my relevant documents on time to at least be on the payroll for June 2021. However, upon calling the Teacher Salaries Unit at the Ministry of Education, I was told that I am not on the payroll for this month. This, to me, is total disregard and negligence on the part of the ministry agents who are responsible for processing salaries.
I cannot fathom why after a teacher would have submitted their documents on time, the ministry would not make it a top priority for that teacher to be paid at the next due date for payment. I am a male teacher, who is also a father and I have a spouse, who are depending on me to provide. How do I go to my family after four months of working to say I have not been paid, and I have done all that was expected and demanded of me to ensure same?
To my understanding, this is the norm at the ministry, as there is a work colleague who has only got paid once in eight months. I wonder if the personnel responsible for processing salaries wonder how teachers eat? How do teachers survive? How do their families look at them and think of them, after doing their best for work and not getting paid? No wonder so many teachers are leaving the system on a yearly basis.
I love my job and I am more in love with the students that I teach, the most prized assets of this country, but I will not stand for not getting paid. Teachers must be seen and felt like they are very important and valuable to the education ministry and the society. The role of education in transforming a society to greatness is unrivalled, therefore, an unrivalled interest must be there in regard to the welfare of teachers.
On behalf of myself and teachers who are facing this problem, I am appealing to the minister of education, the well learned, Honourable Fayval Williams, to earnestly look into this matter. The welfare of teachers is very important. No teacher should be working beyond two months without getting paid. Please address this issue of teachers not getting paid on time. It is vexing, perplexing and frustrating.
Additionally, this is a matter that the Jamaica Teachers’ Association needs to take on.
VERY FRUSTRATED TEACHER