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Early-childhood teachers to get salary increase

Published:Thursday | March 20, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer

DESCRIBING THE salary given to teachers at the early-childhood level as 'unjust', Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites has said there will be an increase for the new financial year, which starts in April.

Speaking at the launch of the Sandals Foundation Project Sprout, held on Tuesday at Eden Gardens Wellness Resort & Spa, St Andrew, Thwaites said the Government is moving swiftly to improve the quality of trained teachers within the sector.

"We recognise that so many trained teachers in the early childhood sector are paid far too little, and so we will be making some improvements certainly this year. I can't give the details as the Budget is not yet passed, but we are not only trying to improve the number of those who are qualified, but also the remuneration," Thwaites told the gathering.

more priority needed

He added: "Many of our teachers get qualified and because the pay is not adequate, they hemorrhage out of the profession or into other levels of teaching, and the fact is that we need to have our best teachers at the early-childhood level."

Chairman of the Early Childhood Commission Profes-sor Maureen Samms-Vaughan welcomed the news, stressing that more priority must be given to the sector in order to see improvement.

"I certainly welcome that news because when you are working with the youngest brains at such a critical point, you really should be paid the best, however that has not been the case," she declared.

"What we have seen over the years is that priority is shown from the top because initially, we thought early childhood was all about changing diapers. We are certainly making progress. However, we have to get to the point where all our energies, time and effort are placed on improving the quality of education that is offered to our children," Samms-Vaughan told The Gleaner.