Twenty-four Cuban teachers have been recruited to teach at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels for the 2018/2019 academic year, to boost the teaching of the sciences, Spanish and other subjects.
The teachers were recruited by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, in accordance with the cooperation agreement that was initially signed in 1997.
They have joined 48 teachers who are currently serving within the education sector, bringing the total to 72 teachers.
Speaking at the annual orientation session for the new cohort of Cuban teachers held today (August 28) at the Alhambra Inn in St. Andrew, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dean-Roy Bernard said the continuation of the programme is indicative of its important contribution to the education system
He noted that since the inception of the Cooperation Agreement, teachers from Cuba have been assisting the Ministry, and Jamaicans overall, to achieve the objectives outlined in the Language Policy.
“The Language Policy speaks to our objective of having Jamaicans being bilingual and multilingual. Most critical among all the languages is Spanish, because our neighbours are Spanish-speaking countries and for cooperation, economic development and advancement, we must join our neighbours, so this [the teaching of Spanish] is critical,” he said.
For her part, Acting Deputy Chief Education Officer, School Operations in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Dasmine Kennedy, welcomed the new cohort of Cuban teachers to the island.
She informed the gathering that since 1997, 369 Cuban nationals have been recruited.
“The teachers have been employed to teach Spanish, mathematics, physical education, agricultural science, chemistry, physics, biology and integrated science. [They] were initially contracted to teach in Jamaican schools for two years, but this was later increased to three years following the revision of the Agreement in 2011,” Mrs. Kennedy said.
She informed that in 1997, 18 teachers were recruited predominantly to teach mathematics and science subjects in secondary schools. She added that due to the magnitude of the experience and expertise of the recruits, a decision was taken in 2009 to include lecturers for tertiary institutions.
“A total of 72 teachers will serve this year. Currently, there are 48 teachers who will be returning for the academic year 2018/2019 and one coordinator. On their return, 28 of the 48 teachers will commence the final year of their contracts. The remaining 20 will commence the second year of their contracts. These teachers will be joined by the 24 teachers recruited for September 2018,” Mrs. Kennedy said.