Categorized | National News

Gov’t To Address School Staff Shortages

In order to address the vexing issue of staff shortages at a number of the nation’s public schools, Education, Science and Technology Minister said he will ask the government to approve the hiring of as many as 50 new teachers.

Mr. Fitzgerald said that recent economic woes have played a role in the country’s public school system being heavily overwhelmed and a further widening of the teacher to student ratio.

“The enrollment in private schools has shrunk while enrollment in public schools has expanded,” Mr. Fitzgerald said.

“It’s an issue that we have come to grips with and we are addressing it in the sense that we are going to need an additional 40 to 50 new teachers. This is also because over the years we have lost teachers and there has not been a move on the part of the government to replace them.”

The minister said while ideally he would like for the 50 new teachers to be Bahamian, this is unlikely since The Bahamas still has a shortage of specialised teachers.

“In some areas where we have special needs like mathematics, sciences and also with the special needs children where we get most of our teachers from Cuba,” Mr. Fitzgerald said. “During the recent College of The Bahamas commencement exercises, we had more than 100 graduates and we took a fair amount of those within the system that we could use.”

“However, not enough teachers are studying mathematics and science – of the 118 graduates we only had two math specialists. So again, we are encouraging Bahamians to go and specialise in areas where we need teachers here so that way we could further cut down on the number of non-Bahamian teachers that we have here.”

Mr. Fitzgerald said that the process to hire new teachers will also require the financial clearance of about $1 million, which he said he plans to ask Cabinet to approve very shortly.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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