November 3, 2006

Education drive blamed for teacher shortage

There is a growing shortage of teachers within the secondary school system – effects of the education revolution that is supposed to among other things enhance it, said education and government officials.

They say too many teachers are going off to study at the same time and now the ministry of education is engaged in a balancing act. As a result, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Laura Browne, said they have requested some bridging measures to cope with the problem.{{more}}

“We are asking principals to do some readjusting of teachers’ work load and we are trying to redeploy staff to address the problem,” she told SEARCHLIGHT.

Some of the measures will include some teachers having to work overtime with students who are behind in the curriculum.

The shortage has come about as a result of an unexpected exodus of teachers who have gone to further their tertiary education.

“We recommended some to go off to study as we assessed the need in the system,” explained Browne.

However, there were others, she said, who left, as late as last month, to pursue areas of studies that have no direct linkage to the teaching system. She further stated that there is an urgent need for teachers to fill vacancies in the field of foreign languages, mathematics and science.

The problem of the teacher shortage was highlighted by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, firstly at a recently held press conference and on October 24, when he addressed a ceremony for the presentation of incentive awards to top performers in this year’s O’ Levels and A’ level exams at the Community College.