Minister wants more benefits for non-teaching school staff

Minister wants more benefits for non-teaching school staff

Ainsworth Morris

Sunday, February 17, 2013

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MINISTER of Education Ronald Thwaites is calling on school administrators to provide better opportunities for non-teaching staff members.

According to Thwaites, low-income earners employed by schools such as groundsmen, secretaries, janitors, clerks and canteen staff members are being overlooked by administrators on matters such as pension plans.

"We need to look again at the pension arrangements for some of our auxiliary staff," Thwaites said at the launch of Kingston Bookshop's Education Support Staff Achievement (KBESSA) awards on February 1 at the ministry's head office.

According to Thwaites, the educators and principals of schools islandwide do not fully make up the teams which produce excellence in any institution.

"This thing can't work unless we recognise the crucial role that is played by everybody in the system. This notion that education takes place [only] in the [classroom] is very, very short-sighted.

"They are the cornerstones of what it is that we do. They are oftentimes overlooked and it is now time that we give them pride of place," he said.

The annual KBESSA competition will be a new motivational force to non-teaching staff members. It is open to schools islandwide and is aimed at recognising non-teaching staff members who have provided effective, productive and commendable service to the institutions to which they are employed.

Administrators of schools are required to compile a 150-word essay about one worthy non-academic staff member. He or she should be nominated based on involvement in numerous areas of school life, willingness to go the extra mile, and contribution to increased initiatives which have cut costs and improved the working environment of schools.

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