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  • Minister of Education, Hon. Rev Ronald Thwaites, is reminding school administrators that there should be no employment of substitute teachers.
  • This is in keeping with the Ministry’s rationalisation of paid study and vacation leave granted to teachers this year.
  • School boards and principals, he said, must schedule leave in ways that do not require the replacement of teachers.

Minister of Education, Hon. Rev Ronald Thwaites, is reminding school administrators that there should be no employment of substitute teachers in keeping with the Ministry’s rationalisation of paid study and vacation leave granted to teachers this year.

School boards and principals, he said, must schedule leave in ways that do not require the replacement of teachers. He said that simply replacing teachers, who will go on leave, is going to cost the Government $2.5 billion.

“That’s the reality. We have not been able to pay that money. We have not been able to find it for many years,” Minister Thwaites stated.

He was addressing the Ministry of Education Region 4 Back-to-School Stakeholders’ Conference at the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort in Montego Bay on Thursday, July 10. The conference, which was under the theme: ‘Policy to Practice: Raising the Bar of Excellence in Student Achievement’, was attended by principals, board chairmen and other stakeholders from the 170 schools in that region.

The Education Minister also urged teachers to take their leave in a manner that will not be disruptive to the operation of their schools, or deprive students of necessary instructions during that period.

He said discussions are underway with the Jamaica Teachers Association (JTA) with regards to the revision of the Education Code and the rationalisation of contracting arrangements between the Ministry and teachers in relation to the accumulation of “long leave,” and leave entitlements.

Meanwhile, Rev. Thwaites called for greater accountability at all levels, and also pointed to the need for principals to make use of training opportunities and for teachers to ensure that their areas of study are relevant to their jobs.

He also challenged principals and boards to create succession plans before they are needed. This, he said, will facilitate the smooth transition when leadership changes, and eliminate the need for “long periods of acting with persons who do not have the competence to keep the rhythm of the school”.