Prime Minister Andrew Holness said he was pleased with the strategies announced by the Department for Education to tackle teacher migration, presenting the phenomenon as both a threat to public education and an economic opportunity.
Some 167 educators have resigned since July, leading to a shortage of teachers in some schools as the new school year approaches.
Mitigation strategies include hiring retired teachers.
It’s unclear what percentage of the 167 accounts for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers, amid concerns that those with high-demand specializations are being heavily recruited for low-cost jobs. the stranger.
The prime minister said the government viewed teacher migration as “a threat to our ability to deliver quality education”, but acknowledged there were limits to the state’s response.
“There’s not much we can do to prevent someone from migrating, clearly if they don’t have any bail obligations or owe the government a fee or something.
“They are free to take advantage of the best opportunities available to them and it is, indeed, in a sense, an honor to our system that countries seek to recruit teachers from Jamaica,” the Prime Minister said. .
Holness, however, sought to cast the migration dilemma in a favorable light, suggesting that the demand for teachers speaks to the value of training here.
“While we see it as a threat, maybe we should look at it systematically and strategically to say to those who want to take our teachers, pay us to train teachers for you, and who knows, maybe be are there economic opportunities there that should be pursued,” he said.
Holness said 121 new graduates who have received government scholarships and been tied for five years will be able to take up employment in September.
Of those teachers, he said, 67 studied math while 32 focused on science subjects.
“We are losing teachers in critical subjects and in schools with large populations, but generally there are schools which are undercrowded and there are schools where it may become necessary and it may in fact prove advantageous. to have a relocation of some schools that are underpopulated to schools that need teachers,” Holness said.