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McLean: Removal of shift system will not endanger teachers’ jobs

Published:Tuesday | August 27, 2019 | 12:07 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Dr Grace McLean
Dr Grace McLean


The Ministry of Education is rubbishing reports that teachers who are currently employed to schools on the shift system are likely to lose their jobs if their institutions become full-day operations.

Dr Grace McLean, acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, rebuffed the claims last week while addressing a question-and-answer session on the final day of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association’s (JTA) 55th annual conference, which was held at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort in Montego Bay, St James.

“In terms of the deployment of teachers, that will change when a school is removed from the shift system, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that those teachers are going to be out of a job. The data is certainly not showing where we have an excess of teachers with the revision of the pupil-teacher ratio that we have done,” McLean told the educators at the conference.

“We’re in the process of reducing the pupil-teacher ratio to ensure that you have more ­manageable numbers for the teaching-learning process to take place. The analysis that we have done and the documentation that we’re putting in place for approval do not indicate that we have excess teachers in the system,” McLean added. “As a matter of fact, there will have to be requests for more teachers, and we’re currently doing the Cabinet submission for that.”

In 2017, the education ministry earmarked 42 schools to be taken off the shift system over a three-year period, with 13 of them to make the transition to full-day operation during the 2017-18 academic year. Some 22 schools have been removed from the shift system within the last three years, but 37 others still operate on a shift basis.

McLean noted that the ministry intends to eliminate the shift system over the next three years by providing additional building resources, including new classroom spaces.

“We have a timeline of the next three years to completely eliminate the shift system through the addition of classroom, as well as the building of new schools. We intend to stick to that timeline so our children can have more time to access the quality education that we’re all seeking to ensure they do access,” said McLean.