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Story Highlights

  • Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says the Ministry has identified $1 billion to add to improved benefits to the educators.
  • All indications are that the (wage) settlement between the teachers and the Government is near at hand.
  • The Minister noted that the teachers have exercised patience and understanding during the negotiation.

Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says the Ministry has identified $1 billion to add to improved benefits to the educators.

“All indications are that the (wage) settlement between the teachers and the Government is near at hand; it is closer than striking distance,” he said, while addressing an education stakeholders breakfast consultation, held  at the Cedar Grove Academy, in St. Catherine, on June 4.

“We in the Ministry of Education have looked into our budget, and have identified in excess of a billion dollars, so that we can improve it (wage settlement), because we understand the constraints on the national budget,” he added.

The Minister noted that the teachers have exercised patience and understanding during the negotiation.

He told the gathering, comprising school principals, Board chairmen, Ministry staff, and representatives of various business entities, that the teachers must be commended for their patience, adding that lead Government negotiator, Hon. Horace Dalley, and Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Phillips, need to be appreciated too, for understanding the urgency to pay public sector workers more, while ensuring that the Economic Reform Programme (ERP) is not affected.

Rev. Thwaites said the Ministers have an extremely difficult task keeping to the economic programme, while at the same time meeting the reasonable expectations of public sector workers.

“We understand the need to remunerate our best professionals properly, and we want to keep the best teachers in the classroom, particularly in the early childhood sector,” the Minister said.

He noted that there are ongoing moves to arrange increased pay for early childhood teachers, and to attract more trained teachers in the system.

The Minister said he is lobbying to get a 20 per cent increase for the early childhood budget next year.