Facing a shortage of 150 primary school teachers in the nation’s denominational schools, Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly says a meeting will be held soon with the Teaching Service Commission (TSC), denominational boards and the Ministry of Education to discuss the problems.
She was responding to comments from denominational board officials who claim over 4,000 pupils are without teachers because the TSC has not hired any primary school teacher since September.
Presbyterian Primary School Board chairman Vickram Ramlal told Guardian Media yesterday that there was “a growing crisis with staffing” in all denominational primary schools, including the Presbyterian schools.
“At present, there are about twenty vacancies in Presbyterian primary schools and 500 children are without teachers. The board has recommended candidates who have been successful in their interviews with the Ministry of Education, yet, since the end of September, no one has been appointed,” Ramlal said.
Ramlal added: “This impasse has developed because of an apparent effort by the TSC and MoE to change the recruitment process for hiring teachers in denominational primary schools, which clearly breaches the boards’ rights under the Concordat to hire persons of their faith.”
He said all the teachers selected by the boards who are awaiting appointments have already been interviewed by the ministry.
However, in response, Gadsby-Dolly yesterday said a meeting with the TSC, Ministry of Education and the boards is being arranged.
“The Ministry of Education is currently utilising substitute teachers in schools and has advertised for more to meet the need. Just to clarify - because persons may wonder why there are vacancies when there is a surplus of applicants for the teaching service in most subject areas, the issue is the backlog in processing and interviews; not a dearth of applications,” she said.
T“COVID threw off the interview schedules, which increased the backlog in interviews and promotions that already existed.”
She added: “The TSC has been attending to the outstanding promotion of school middle managers, which is critical, and this has further exacerbated the situation, as the interviews and appointments system is not in sync to replace all of the promoted teachers.”