JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Teachers are being encouraged to take vacation leave outside the 190 days stipulated for instructional delivery in schools each academic year, by the Ministry of Education.
  • This, so as to reduce challenges arising and the extent to which the Ministry and, by extension, school administrators are required to make alternative arrangements to fill the resulting temporary vacancy created.
  • Whenever a teacher who goes on vacation leave during a school term, that position has to be temporarily filled by a colleague who, more often than not, is already assigned to a class.

Teachers are being encouraged to take vacation leave outside the 190 days stipulated for instructional delivery in schools each academic year, by the Ministry of Education.

This, so as to reduce challenges arising and the extent to which the Ministry and, by extension, school administrators are required to make alternative arrangements to fill the resulting temporary vacancy created.

This urging came from Portfolio Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, as he delivered the keynote address at the closing ceremony for the Ministry’s Region Three office back to school conference at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, on August 15.

Rev. Thwaites noted that whenever a teacher who goes on vacation leave during a school term, that position has to be temporarily filled by a colleague who, more often than not, is already assigned to a class, or a substitute teacher recruited externally.

He advised that the Education Ministry’s Code of Regulation stipulates that, under normal circumstances, vacation leave should not be taken during instructional time.

Despite this, he said some teachers continue to disregard the stipulation which, he added, is worsened by a pattern of accumulated vacation leave also being taken during instructional time.

“The code is very clear…and yet 95 per cent of all of the vacation that (has been) applied for this year (falls)…during the 190 days of instruction. The pattern…of accumulating leave and taking it during instructional time…means… some (of the) other teachers…have to (take charge of those) classes (where teachers have gone on leave) as well as (supervise) their own, or we have to hire (some) other person to take the place,” he stated.

In assuring that the Ministry is not suggesting curtailment of teachers’ leave entitlements, Rev. Thwaites urged them to exercise a “reasonable approach (to) and flexibility” on the matter.

“(This) so that you take your leave like every other public servant every year and that, in fact,… as (best) as possible (it is taken) when school is not in session?” Minister Thwaites proposed.

The Region Three back to school conference was held under the theme: ‘From Policy to Practice: Raising the Bar of Excellence in Student Achievement’.