Saturday, January 20, 2018

Shortage of teachers at 48 Anglican schools


VACANCIES: Parents and pupils attending the Sixth Company Anglican Primary School in Moruga display placards outside the school yesterday to highlight the teacher shortage they are experiencing. —Photo: DAVE PERSAD

Mark Fraser

THERE is a shortage of teachers at 48 schools run by the Anglican Education Board of Management.

This is according to Merle Brathwaite, the board’s secretary with responsibility for primary schools.

Yesterday she said: “We do not have teachers. We have gone to the government list. We have submitted our recommendations to the ministry (of Education) which takes quite a long time because the minister (Dr Tim Gopeesingh) has to look at everything that happens in terms of staffing at school. We have been doing that all the time.”

Her comments came after a protest by parents of pupils attending the Sixth Company Anglican Primary School in Moruga yesterday.

Spokesperson for the parents Sharon Reyes said since last year, there has been a shortage of teachers at the school and one teacher was teaching two classes.

“We want the school to be at the level it is supposed to be. We want teachers for each class,” Reyes said.

Brathwaite said a recommendation was made for a teacher to be assigned to the school but the teacher’s accreditation for the Bachelor in Education degree was not yet finalised.

 That was another  issue teachers had to face, she said, and principals in Port of Spain schools had to teach classes because of the shortage.

An official at the Ministry of Education told the Express that it was the responsibility of the Board to make recommendations.

The official said: “But the ministry’s experience on many occasions has been the board would normally reject qualified and competent applicants all because they want someone of the Anglican faith to teach at their schools.” 

Another official said measures were being put  in place to deal with the shortage issue.

The ministry official said: “The ministry is using an international benchmark as it relates to the number of students per teacher. It is part of a plan to fill vacancies  to ensure schools are adequately staffed.”

Member of Parliament for Moruga Clifton De Coteau said he only became aware of the problem yesterday morning because of the protest. He said if he had known about it earlier, he would have assisted.

He told the Express: “We will be working on it, to have the problem alleviated at the school.”