Categorized | Featured, National News

200 New Teachers Hired -85% Deployed To Family Islands


With about two weeks left before the start of the new academic year, close to 200 new teachers have been hired to help address an existing teacher shortage in the Ministry of Education.

The majority of those teachers will be deployed to the Family Islands, senior education officials said.

Some 184 teachers – the majority of whom are recent graduates of the College of The Bahamas (COB) –will join 4,000 others already in classrooms come September, with 85 per cent of those teachers to be sent to work in understaffed schools on the Family Islands.

This is said to be partially due to the fact that the majority of teachers are engaged here in the capital where classes for the most part are overcrowded.

Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson called this latest augmentation of the teaching workforce “much needed” and “well overdue.”

“What makes us even happier is that there are 172 teachers that are from the College of the Bahamas. So, this is really good,” said Mrs. Wilson shortly after addressing the new teachers during an official orientation at Uriah McPhee Primary School.

“We also have teachers from other colleges and universities abroad. This means that we are taking a step in the right direction for us to try and get educators that are home grown into the system.”

And while the majority of teachers – all at different educational levels – are Bahamian, there are 13 others who have been recruited from the Cuban educational system and another from Guyana.

The teachers will spend the next two days in orientation.

“You’ve attained a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s degree, a teaching certificate and some of you, a Doctorate degree. However, be cognizant of the fact that four years of college or university could not prepare you for all of the challenges that you will face in 2012,” she said.

The union president went on to remind the teachers that they’ve entered the educational system at a time when classes are overcrowded; when students are facing many social issues and when parental involvement is almost non-existent.

But, more than that Mrs. Wilson pointed to the fact that the system is under heavy scrutiny in light of continued unsatisfactory results in the national examinations.
She insists, however, that improvements must come and reminded the teachers of their importance in that process.

“If we are going to change the educational system and attain the kind of results that we desire in our national examinations, we must change what goes on in the classrooms,” said Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald.

“Twenty-first century teachers are prerequisites for 21st century classrooms. As minister of education, I am extremely passionate about seeing more emphasis placed on skills training in our school, improvement in numeracy and literacy, greater teacher productivity and parental involvement which will ultimately lead to greater student performance.”

Minister Fitzgerald has refused to give up on the system and challenged the teachers to adopt the same attitude.

“Your rewards are in the lives you will touch and change in this nation. The ongoing debate about teacher quality has become the issue of the day. By accepting this post as teachers in the public school system, you have planted yourself in the midst of this debate and it will be ongoing,” he said.

Furthermore, Mr. Fitzgerald said, “Many people will be watching to see the difference and contribution that you make in this arena. I have extremely high hopes and great expectations for your performance.”

“I look forward to working with you as we seek to transform the educational system and make a difference in the lives of our young people and our country.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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