Govt. Will Push for Policy to Guide Teacher Recruitment


Information Minister, Senator Burchell Whiteman, has said that the Government would continue to push for a policy to guide the international recruitment of teachers. Senator Whiteman was speaking at a meeting of the Association of Jamaican Teachers in the United Kingdom (UK) on Tuesday (Oct. 28) at the Jamaican High Commission in London. He said the Government was concerned about the ethics of some recruitment agencies.
“We are concerned about them because we feel that some of these agencies are not entirely scrupulous. I have met with some teachers who came to this country and returned to Jamaica and who told me about being misled by the recruitment agency, about being made promises, which were not fulfilled, and having no recourse. We believe that it should be put on a proper footing,” Mr. Whiteman stated.
He noted that a framework was necessary to ensure that there was mutual respect on both sides and that all participating in the recruitment process came out “winners.” He said further, that countries needed to have information on how many teachers were being recruited, the subjects areas and terms and conditions of employment. This information, he pointed out, would better allow for succession planning.
The Minister’s concern about the recruitment agencies was borne out by the teachers who complained that they were considered untrained and many had difficulties obtaining the needed qualified teacher status. They also spoke about difficulties with their income tax arrangements and said that in some school districts, they were treated differently from teachers recruited from other countries.
The teachers also complained about the lack of a common standard across the school districts guiding the terms and conditions of service of Jamaican teachers.
Teddy Burton, President of the Association, pointed to links being developed with the National Union of Teachers (NUT) in the UK, to ensure that Jamaican teachers were treated fairly.
Mr. Whiteman, who is the former Education Minister, is a director of the Board of Commonwealth Educators and he is in the UK to attend the 15th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers.
The issue of teacher recruitment is also on the agenda of the Education Ministers’ conference, which is being held in Edinburgh until October 30.

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