Whiteman Urges British Gov’t to Extend Contracts of Teachers in the UK


Jamaican High Commissioner to London, Burchell Whiteman, has written to the British government, proposing an extension of the contracts of Jamaican teachers recruited to teach in the United Kingdom (UK), to allow them to meet the Qualified Teachers Status (QTS) to continue their employment.
The QTS is the accreditation that enables teachers to teach in state-maintained and special schools in the UK.
“Given what has been claimed, namely that many of these teachers are still needed by their schools, and given the obvious inappropriateness of any suggestion that the (overseas recruitment) policy should be reversed or indefinitely suspended, consideration could be given to a one-year extension for all teachers and that for a further year, only those schools, which continue to require the services of those who are still in need of more time, should be allowed to recommend extensions for their members of staff,” said Mr. Whiteman.
He said he hoped that a commitment can be made to a review and that decisions will be made expeditiously to resolve the issue in the interest of teachers, the students and the British public in general.
High Commissioner Whiteman said while he was aware of various steps being contemplated by teachers, their unions and other organisations, to deal with what is seen as injustices being experienced by a number of teachers, who face unemployment and or deportation, the High Commission was not in support of any unnecessary confrontation with the UK government and its agencies.
Since the start of the mass recruitment of Jamaican teachers to the UK in 2000, the Jamaican High Commission has sought to ensure that they are treated fairly and have full knowledge and understanding of the terms and conditions of their contracts.
Meetings were held with one of the major recruitment agencies to gain an understanding of the process and once informed of the disadvantage that Jamaican teachers faced by not having the QTS, the High Commission researched and provided information on the qualifying process to teachers.
The High Commission also encouraged the formation of a Jamaica Teachers Association UK and facilitated several planning and other meetings of the group. The mission also encouraged the teachers to affiliate themselves to one of the trade unions in the UK.
The Jamaican Government was involved in initiating the Protocol for the Recruitment of Commonwealth Teachers 2004. While the protocol is not legally binding, it was accepted by Commonwealth Governments (including the UK) and has become a part of the understanding among the member states of the Commonwealth.

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