JIS News

Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Burchell Whiteman, has said that the government was moving to provide increased training to staff responsible for classification and payment of teachers to prevent any recurrence of overpayment to the island’s teachers.
He said the government would also be reminding schools and regions of the consequences of submitting late information and enlisting the support of School Boards to ensure that information was submitted on time.
Mr. Whiteman made these comments in response to questions posed by Opposition Senator Anthony Johnson during Thursday’s (March 11) sitting of the Senate at Gordon House.
The overpayment to teachers came to the attention of the Senate last year when Senator Noel Monteith, State Minister in the Ministry, told his colleagues that the Ministry was trying to recover the money from the teachers through a special arrangement with the Jamaica Teachers Association.
Opposition Senators had expressed concern about the government’s approach to the issue, asking that the matter be further discussed and requested more information on the overpayment.
Senator Whiteman told his colleagues that the delay in the submission of information to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture on the resignations and absence of teachers from schools, computation errors and incorrect classification of teachers were the reasons for the overpayment.
He also informed that close to $50 million were overpaid to some 1,270 teachers including Specialist teachers. Of this amount, 714 teachers were overpaid by close to $20 million because of delay in submission of information by the institutions to the Ministry of Education, while in excess of $3 million was overpaid to 423 teachers because of computation errors. Another 133 teachers were overpaid by more than $26 million.
Addressing the issue of reclaiming amounts overpaid, Senator Whiteman said, “the policy is to correct and collect, and there is generally speaking an agreement as to a payment schedule for the recovery of the sums for which were overpaid”.
In respect of the teachers that were reclassified, Senator Monteith said that some had agreed to deductions to repay the sum, but deductions were stopped in January/February to discuss the matter with the Solicitor General and lawyers representing the JTA.
“The Jamaica Teachers Association and the Ministry of Education had agreed that both their lawyers would meet with the Solicitor General and they would have discussions as to how they would proceed,” he said.

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