Letters to the Editor

Don't employ unqualified teachers

Thursday, September 13, 2012    

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Dear Editor,

There have been several reports in the media recently regarding an estimated 2000 trained teachers who are unable to secure jobs because of a shortage of teaching posts. I wish to submit that this shortage is partly the result of many people being employed without having a teaching diploma or a Bachelor of Education degree.

It is unfair to hire unqualified teachers while people who pursued a career in education at a teachers' college or university are jobless. Apart from the fact that untrained teachers are unaware of the various teaching methodologies, many of them use teaching as a last resort. This results in many of them underperforming because they lack the intrinsic motivation and commitment required for effective teaching.

Have you ever heard of someone who studied history practising law or someone who studied sociology practising medicine without the requisite additional training? The answer is an emphatic "No".

So why is it that the profession continues to employ unqualified people to teach at a time when it would appear that the supply of trained teachers is outstripping demand? Is it related to the warped view that reading a book and then imparting the information to the students is all that is required to teach? If this is the prevailing thinking, then should it be a surprise that so many of our students perform poorly?

I am aware that some pre-trained graduate teachers are doing an excellent job, but the Ministry of Education needs to ensure that these teachers take the necessary steps to upgrade their qualifications within a certain time frame or be axed from the system. Further, principals and school boards should be mandated to give first preference to trained teachers when hiring. In this regard, a more rigorous and transparent process for employing teachers is required in order to ensure that the most qualified and competent teachers are employed. In this way, the society will be assured that our students are being taught only by qualified and competent teachers and that we are getting greater value for money.

Marisa McPherson

Boscobel, St Mary

marisadawkins@yahoo.com

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