More teachers to enjoy security of tenure
Gov't approves post codes for regularisation of employment
Minister of Education and Youth, Fayval Williams

MINISTER of Education Fayval Williams has announced that the tenures of more than 5,000 teachers at various levels, as well as other individuals working in the education system, are to be regularised.

Speaking during her contribution to the sectoral debate in the House of Representatives last Tuesday, Williams said Cabinet has approved 5,045 post codes for teachers and non-academic staff who have been employed in the sector for lengthy periods without security of tenure, some for five, 10, or more years.

The regularisation will apply to classroom teachers, senior teachers, master teachers, health and family life education teachers, numeracy specialists, teachers' aides, teachers' assistants and non-academic staff such as watchmen/women, cooks and secretaries..

"In the past it has only been that on getting to retirement that a teacher may find out that they have been working in a job without a post code. To regularise at that time is most time-consuming and frustrating. With the new technology platforms we have, we should not get to this place again," she said.

Every position in Government should have a post code, which ensures that employees can obtain their pension and other benefits such as increments and appointments.

"We are doing the finalisation of the data and then letters will be prepared. This is a major clean-up for the education sector….They will be regularised at last," Williams said.

In the meantime Williams stressed that teachers "still matter" despite the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), with the most popular form of AI being ChatGPT, a natural language-processing chatbot which users can prompt to compose essays, write emails, draft a business plan, create inventive creative stories, and generate programming codes.

She said even ChatGPT agreed when she asked the chatbot whether teachers matter with the proliferation of AI. It responded to say: "Teachers continue to be essential, even with the proliferation of AI. While AI can provide a wealth of information and support, it cannot replace the human connection that teachers provide."

She said the Government salutes the 1,000 plus new teachers who entered the profession recently, and those who remain passionate about teaching.

Williams said that according to an August 2022 UNICEF report, 87.1 per cent of teachers either strongly agreed or agreed that despite the issues confronting education and the socio-economic issues and challenges facing Jamaica which impact the education system, they were still passionate about teaching.

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