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Holness casts teacher migration as threat and opportunity

Holness casts teacher migration as threat and opportunity

Posted  34 Views updated 1 month ago

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has expressed satisfaction with the strategies announced by the education ministry to address teacher migration, casting the phenomenon as both a threat to public education and an economic opportunity.

Some 167 educators have tendered their resignations since July, resulting in a shortage of teachers in some schools as the new academic year inches closer.

Mitigation strategies include the hiring of retired teachers.

It is uncertain what percentage of the 167 accounts for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers, amid concerns that those with high-demand specialisations are being heavily recruited for overseas jobs.

The prime minister said that the Government saw teacher migration as “a threat to our ability to deliver quality education” but acknowledged that there were limits to the State’s response.

“There is very little that we can do to stop someone from migrating, clearly if they have no obligations in terms of a bond or owing the Government any fees or anything like that.

“They are free to take advantage of the best opportunities that they have and it is, indeed, in a sense, a credit to our system that countries would seek to get teachers from Jamaica,” the prime minister said.

Holness, however, sought to frame the migration dilemma in a favourable light, suggesting that the demand for teachers was testament to the value of training here.

“Whilst we view it as a threat, maybe we need to look at it in a systematic and strategic way to say to those persons who want to take our teachers, pay us to train teachers for you, and who knows, maybe there are some economic opportunities there that should be pursued,” he said.

Holness said new 121 graduates who were recipients of government scholarships and have been bonded for five years will be able to take up jobs come September.

Among those teachers, he said 67 studied mathematics while 32 focused on science subjects.

“We are losing teachers in critical subject areas and in schools with high populations, but generally, there are schools that are underpopulated and there are schools where it may become necessary and it may actually prove advantageous to have relocation from some schools that are underpopulated to schools that need the teachers,” Holness said.

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