KINGSTON, Jamaica — With increasing worry that there could be a shortage of teachers at the start of the new school term on September 5 dominating the news over the past few weeks, the Minister of Education and Youth, Fayval Williams, has advised school principals that the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service has granted approval for retired teachers and those who are on long-leave to fill areas of specialisation where schools are not able to find adequate replacements.
“This approval was granted in response to a request from the Ministry of Education and Youth to allow “locum tenens”, ie teachers being their own replacement. There are 1,877 teachers who applied for and received vacation leave, retirement or study leave,” Williams said in an early morning statement Tuesday.
She shared that the Minister of Finance, Dr Nigel Clarke, stated that while discussions continue to arrive at the best solution for the long-term, the following short-term measures are approved for implementation:
- Existing teachers to be able to serve as "locum tenens" while on vacation leave in either their existing institution or in another institution of employment.
- During these periods of engagement the teachers' compensation are to be based on the existing guidelines for the payment of locum tenens.
- Retired teachers to be utilised in areas of specialisation are to be reengaged on a contractual basis only.
- The rate of pay is to be determined based on the position to be filled and not on the qualification of the retired teacher to be engaged.
- For existing teachers, this approval is conditional on the understanding and acceptance that teachers will not earn or accumulate vacation leave for any period served teaching while on vacation leave, whether as their ”own locum-tenens” or otherwise.
Williams welcomed the approval at a back-to-school meeting with over 900 principals who were being updated on distribution of desks and chairs, broadband connectivity of schools, textbooks, eResources, and the Sixth Form Pathways Programme.