PHILIPSBURG–It appears as though schools will reopen for the new school year on Monday with most of the required teachers.
Education Minister Wycliffe Smith told reporters on Wednesday that since sounding the alarm of the teacher shortage last week, several persons have applied for the openings. Smith had said last week that 44 teachers were needed for primary and high schools in the country.
“Teachers have applied, schools have processed applications and the shortage has decreased,” Smith said during this week’s Council of Ministers press briefing.
“What the exact figure is at this time for the (positions filled), I wouldn’t be able to give you, but the appeal (I made last week – Ed.) did help. Several teachers seeking employment contacted my office and contacted me personally and we were able to direct them to the schoolboards that were directly responsible for hiring teachers,” the minister indicated. “I am confident that school boards will be able to resolve the teacher shortage in a satisfactory manner by the time school starts on Monday.”
In terms of addressing the problem, Smith said the ministry will be looking at ways and means of mitigating teacher shortage in the country. “On the short term this can mean giving temporary dispensation to teach for people who are qualified in their field, but don’t have the pedagogical certificate to teach. There is also the possibility of offering pedagogical training. This can and will be done in collaboration with school boards.”
Long term solutions will be to, as of September, encourage graduates from secondary schools to apply for study financing in the field of teaching.
Smith had said last week that 44 teachers were needed for both primary and secondary schools. For the secondary school level, teachers were needed for the subjects Dutch, mathematics, integrated science, English, social studies, geography, chemistry, physics, economy, home economics, information technology, plumbing, automotive repairs and computer repairs.
He had issued a public appeal at the time for qualified persons to apply for the posts and for persons who know of qualified teachers in the needed subject areas, to encourage them to apply for the upcoming academic year. The minister had said also that teacher shortage is now a worldwide phenomenon affecting both first and third world countries. Countries, he added, are faced with a serious shortage of teachers.
He had said also that high school graduates seemed not to be attracted to the teaching profession. This year only 13 persons were awarded study financing to pursue studies in teaching.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/79371-teacher-shortage-is-down-some-applications-received