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Ministry making progress reorganising teachers' leave entitlements

Published:Tuesday | February 11, 2014 | 4:30 PM

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer



KINGSTON, Jamaica:

The Education Ministry says it has made considerable progress in rationalising the granting of study leave and other entitlements to teachers.




In May last year, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites, announced in the Parliament that the existing system of leave entitlements for teachers was costing more than $2.5 billion yearly.



He said this was unsustainable and would have to change.



Initially, the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA), strongly opposed the move and ceased communicating with the education ministry.



The union later agreed to begin meeting with Thwaites on the matter.



Rresponding to today’s Gleaner editorial raising concerns about the progress of discussions, Thwaites said it is better to make announcements after action has been taken.



He says the process has been ongoing and the upcoming Budget for the 2014/2015 fiscal year will reflect actions taken.



Teachers receive paid leave amounting to 52 days annually.



Teachers employed before 2003 are also entitled to an additional 40 days of unpaid leave after every five years.



After two years of service a teacher is eligible for one year fully paid study leave.



The Education Ministry has proposed to reimburse teachers half the cost of their tuition if their studies fit with the Government's education priorities.



The Ministry has also recommended that teachers embark on their studies in ways that would not take them out of the classroom for extended periods.



The Government's re-ogranisation of the leave entitlements for teachers is a requirement under the programme with the International Monetary Fund.



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