Categorized | National News

Teacher Shortage Causes Concern

Jerome Fitzgerald_Monday marked the first day of school, but the opening of this year’s semester was mired by a number of teachers missing from the classrooms.

Speaking to reporters outside of Cabinet yesterday Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald blamed the shortage on several issues, including teachers not simply turning up for work or turning in late resignation letters not giving the ministry enough time to prepare.

 “The first week of school is always a transition period but we just got a few resignation letters yesterday and we’re now asking principles to send us a list of all the teachers that have not showed up.

“On the family islands we have teachers who have shown up for work yet but we will be pursuing that during the course of the week but we have a number of teachers that didn’t get the transfer request they wanted so they did not show up for work but we have a way of dealing with those persons,” Mr. Fitzgerald said.

The minister said he accepts the difficulty in posting teachers in family island schools, and stressed that at the end of the day the ministry can’t force them to work.

“We always have problems in the family islands, as I continue to say to persons we can’t force teachers to go there, we just say the vacancies are available.

‘If they want the ministry to hire them that is the position that is available, we don’t have a stick to beat them and tell them to go anywhere.

‘It’s definitely a challenge getting them to go to the out islands especially the remote ones but we continue to work with them in that regard,” Mr. Fitzgerald said.

 Now on the other side you have teachers who are disgruntled over several issues inclusive of infrastructural issues at schools as well as outstanding documents.

Acting President of the Bahamas Union of Teachers Joan Knowles-Turnquest said to her knowledge about 60 persons have resigned and added that part of the reason for teachers not being in class rooms are the fact that they have yet to receive their confirmation letters.

“The readiness of schools is still a major problem; we still have persons who have not received their letters of confirmation so we’re waiting on that to be resolved.

“You have persons that are still being vetted by the relevant authorities and we’re waiting on that to be completed so they can be properly sent into the schools as well as facilities not being totally completed,” Ms. Turnquest-Knowles said.

The ministry has tried to rectify the situation by hiring supply teachers to act as a temporary fix.

Mr. Fitzgerald said he expects to have a full report from the over 170 schools in the public system by Thursday of this week.



Written by Jones Bahamas

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