JTA wants gov't to set up reclassification programme to retain trained teachers

Owen Speid
The Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) wants the government to implement a reclassification programme as a means of retaining trained teachers in the education sector.
Owen Speid, President of the Association, said the last reclassification exercise was in 2008, at which point, teachers were reclassified up to 80 per cent of market value.  
Addressing the issue Monday on the Morning Agenda on Power 106, he argued that with inflation, teachers are currently at about 50-60 per cent of market value. 
"When the teachers were studying, they didn't do 50 or 60 per cent of the diploma or the degree programme. They did all of it, just like everybody else, so we should be reclassified up to 100 per cent of market value," he contended. 
Mr. Speid has blamed former education minister, Ronald Thwaites, for pushing programmes which he describes as oppressive in nature.
He said the programmes resulted in some teachers leaving the profession. 
"I remember him wanting...the hours in a school day to be extended. I remember him wanting the school year to be extended, on top of all the stress and problems that teachers face. They wanted the teachers to be working in the hot summer in those hot classrooms, no fan, no anything at all around them, ventillation poor."
"He (Thwaites) was the one who carried in NCEL (National College For Educational Leadership) and saying to people that he wasn't signing off on any principal appointments unless they completed that NCEL programme. How can you be putting obstacle in the way of upward mobility in a profession and expect people to be satisfied and wanting to work, motivated to work?" he asserted. 

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