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Over 400 new teachers to be appointed

After much agitation by the trade unions, the long-awaited appointment of teachers is finally about to become a reality.

Minister of Education Ronald Jones announced today at a press briefing inside the Committee Room of Parliament that 416 primary school teachers would be appointed by the end of next month, with an additional 239 to follow after a new Public Service Teachers Order is passed by Parliament later this year.

Jones also disclosed that these were posts advertised two years ago to bring the 1,392 already permanent positions at primary schools to the required established numbers.

“The issue of teachers where there has been one of anxiety over time, particularly in the wake of the slight reduction in the number of persons who were hitherto attached to the public service of Barbados; and I know that the unions themselves were anxious that there might have been some reduction in numbers. I am pleased to note that there has not been any over the last two to three years,” Minister Jones said.

He said since 2012, the Ministry had been undertaking a broad rationalization where persons were allocated in the nursery, primary and secondary schools resulting in the discovery of several anomalies in the teaching service.

“The Ministry of Education had breached what you would call assignment protocols by not requesting from the Ministry of the Civil Service various posts to satisfy the teaching compliment. The Chief Education Officer, operating under what one might call ‘the delegation of functions,’ was assigning temporary teachers in the service,” he added.

He explained that a temporary post must first be created, but it was found that this was not done, “because no request was made for the assignment of temporary posts. So that in itself created a major part of the anomaly.”

Jones announced that all anomalies have been rectified and the entire system has been rationalized.

“We now have that entire situation properly worked out. In fact a new Public Service Teachers Order should be laid in Parliament shortly. The last Civil Service Teachers’ Order was in 1999, so that is some 16 years. At that time, excluding the post of principal . . . in both primary, nursery and secondary school, we have an establishment of 2,564 teachers.”

He said 1,172 of the permanent posts were assigned to secondary schools and 1,392 to primary and nursery education institutions.

“The new Public Service Teachers Order, with all the work gone, would establish 247 temporary posts in nursery and primary schools [and] establish 52 supernumerary posts in primary schools.” He said the compliment of teacher outnumbered the available posts when the Public Service Act was passed in 2007, at a time when it provided for the appointments of persons who would have been acting in an established position for three prior to the legislation’s approval.  Jones explained that since there were not enough posts 52 supernumerary positions were created in the primary schools and 11 at the secondary level.

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