US school administrator stresses teacher shortage is a global phenomenon, as teacher bemoans poor working conditions in Jamaica
As schools began in Jamaica this week, several institutions did not have their full complement of teachers.
This, while at least 248 teachers resigned during the summer. 1,877 other educators are on vacation or study leave. Of the teachers who resigned, several left the island in search of greener pastures.
It’s no secret that teachers on the island are unhappy with their salaries. After months of negotiations, the Jamaica Teachers’ Association recently signed an agreement providing for a 4% salary increase for public school teachers. But even with this increase, dozens of teachers continue to feel cheated by the government.
A former elementary school teacher, who now lives and works in the United States, told IRIE FM News that she had no plans to leave Jamaica, but an opportunity presented itself and she took it.
She noted that while salary was a major push factor, issues such as lack of resources in Jamaican schools also contributed to her decision.
The teacher explained that she had a class of 19 students, compared to Jamaica where she often had up to 49 students in her class.
She noted that she is relieved to be away from the challenges faced in the Jamaican school setting.
She lamented that the classrooms in Jamaica are not conducive to the teaching-learning process.
The educator noted that in addition to increasing teacher salaries, the Jamaican government needs to invest more in classrooms.
But while much has been made of the shortage of teachers in Jamaica, which many have blamed in part on the migration of some educators, an American school administrator points out that the phenomenon is not new and that it is not It’s not just a Jamaican problem.
Dr. Asneth Council, who is the director of 8 early childhood programs in New York, explained that there is also a significant shortage in the United States, hence the recruitment of teachers from abroad.
While Jamaican teachers are impressed with the scale of salaries offered in their new homeland, Dr. Council said the salary a teacher receives in the United States is relatively low compared to other professions.
As for tackling the teacher shortage in Jamaica, Dr Council said that would be a challenge.
She noted, however, that in addition to increasing teachers’ salaries, the government must tackle the working conditions of educators on the island.