More than 100 teachers have left the school system-Minister of Education

The Jamaican government confirmed on Monday that around 167 teachers had left their posts in the school system here in the past two months.

“Teachers, like everyone else, make very personal decisions to migrate and we are sorry to see them go but we respect their decisions…obviously resignations that would have happened in the last school year we would have seen where many of them would have been filled and therefore those would not be in this number that I am quoting to you this morning,” Education Minister Fayval Williams told a news conference.

“Of course we are still getting information from our head teachers and so that number (167) could change as we move into late August and into September. The new school year starts on September 5 and even until then there may be resignations,” she added,

Williams, speaking on teacher migration, told reporters that while the numbers may sound alarm bells, the situation is under control.

She said the ministry has implemented several strategies to mitigate the potential fallout from mass migration and that 964 specialist teachers, who have just graduated, are now available for employment in the national school system.

Last week, the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) warned of an exodus of teachers this year, noting that more than 400 have left the island to pursue lucrative job opportunities in the United States.

Williams told reporters that “looking at our 2022 teacher education graduates by specialization, I see accounting majors, biology teachers, chemistry teachers, computer science teachers, business education teachers, I see 111 early childhood education teachers.

“We have about 29 double majors in English, we have 140 double majors in mathematics… we also have physical education teachers. We see primary teachers, 259 of them and we see social studies, Spanish and French for a total of 964 specialist teachers who would have graduated from our teacher training institutions this year and I am sure many of them make appointments in our schools.

She said of the 964 teachers currently available to enter the government education system, 121 are tied for five years after completing their education through the ministry’s special scholarship scheme. They are expected to fill positions in the next school year.

“Among them are 67 teachers of mathematics, 32 teachers of physics and chemistry and 17 with a specialization in industrial education.

“We have teachers who come as part of the Jamaica/Cuba bilateral program. We have 70 teachers there. We have a framework agreement with the Cuban government under which we integrate these teachers into our system,” Williams said, adding that retired teachers may also be sought to fill gaps resulting from migration.

But she noted that only those who retired from January 2018 to present will be eligible to fill the positions.

Jeremy S. McLain