Estimated 964 teachers available for hire in Jamaica as migration causes staffing shortages
KINGSTON, JAMAICA — Hundreds of teaching jobs in Jamaica have just opened up as the public school system urgently seeks to fill vacancies ahead of the new school year.
This was announced by Minister of Education and Youth Fayval Williams yesterday during a press conference to address staffing shortages amongst teachers of late.
Williams said the need to hire teachers is especially critical as the new school year is set to begin in under two weeks.
Additionally, the education system was hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdowns, so the shortages aggravate an already challenging situation.
According to the minister, public school principals and boards have been given pre-approval to hire teachers where vacancies exist, both in a full-time and part-time capacity.
Further, schools were given permission to extend the employment of teachers who were scheduled to retire, if that individual teacher wishes to continue working.
Pre-trained graduates who have at least one degree in a specialty area can also be hired, Williams said, and some on-the-job training can be facilitated.
However, she specified that these will depend on “where there is a short supply of teachers determined by the response to advertisements or reported lack of suitability of respondents by the school”.
Nearly 1k teachers available for hire
As the public school system looks to fill teaching jobs in Jamaica, Minister Williams estimated that some 964 teachers are available for hire.
“We would have gotten figures that say there are 964 specialist teachers who have just completed their programme of study and may be available for employment in the government teaching service,” she noted.
Williams gave a breakdown of the specialty areas, noting they cover a wide range of subjects and grade levels.
They also include 2022 training graduates, and more than 100 who were on scholarship and are bonded to government service for five years.
“I’m sure many of those will be taking up appointments in our schools,” the minister noted.
Migration posing a challenge
However, the staffing challenges in Jamaica’s public school system come as 167 teachers have resigned since last month.
Williams said her ministry does not have exact data on how many of those resignations were due to migration, as at least two cases were teachers moving into the private school system.
Nonetheless, she acknowledged that high instances of migration abroad for work opportunities will have a “likely impact” on Jamaica’s education sector.