BITCOIN

Williams agrees: Teachers who resign without notice ‘unprofessional’

Education and Youth Minister Fayval Williams agrees with Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) President Leighton Johnson that the age-old practice of schoolteachers resigning with no notice is unprofessional. 

Williams, who was speaking at a post-Cabinet press briefing on Wednesday, pleaded with educators in the public school system who make their personal decisions to resign, to be “mindful of the legal requirements” that govern the process.

“Last night (Tuesday), I was listening to an interview… with the new president of the JTA, and he admitted that the age-old practice of teachers resigning with no notice is unprofessional, and I agree with him,” she said.

“In fact, there is a legal requirement for teachers who are permanent in the system to give three months’ notice, and, for those who hold temporary, acting or provisional positions, to give one month’s notice. And this is all laid out in Section 54 of the Regulations Act of 1980 that has this requirement,” the minister continued.

“Of note, teachers who give three months’ notice and continue to work, of course, they will be paid. They are not denied their payment. If that happened long ago in the past, that is not happening now,” she assured. 

Johnson has joined the ministry in encouraging educators planning to resign to give an early indication to administrators.

However, the practice of resigning without giving notice has intensified as some principals have noted that they have been receiving more resignation letters for educators since payday last Friday. 

This situation has left principals concerned as they hurry to fill the vacancies ahead the new school year, which starts on Monday, September 4.

Williams said on Wednesday that based on the ministry’s estimates, there is a pool of between 1,693 and 3,119 teachers available for employment. 

She again sought to downplay concerns of teacher shortages in the sector, pointing to a 44 per cent decline in teacher resignations this year when compared to January to September last year.

“As of yesterday (August 29), the number of resignations would be 854, still a 44 per cent decline from what we saw in the January to September period of 2022 (when 1,538 teachers resigned),” she stated.

Williams said she fully understands the “uncertainty” faced by some principals and school boards relative to the short notice given by teachers who resign.

“… But that is why at least two (or) three weeks ago, we sent to our schools a number of different strategies for them to use with the recruitment process,” she reminded.

Among the strategies is the engagement of those on approved vacation leave and/or those who are scheduled to proceed on retirement in September 2023.

School boards and principals can also hire pre-trained graduate teachers and final-year student teachers, or redeploy underutilised teachers, merge small classes, increase the use of information communication technology, or utilise recorded lessons, among other initiatives. 

Individuals seeking employment as teachers or principals seeking to fill vacancies can also use the Education Ministry’s new job bank portal, which became accessible on August 27.

“I know it’s not easy standing here (on) August 30, when school is going to open next Monday, to be able to recruit, but we came out with these strategies well ahead of time,” Williams said.

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