Savings from Leave Reform to be Reallocated – Minister Thwaites

first_imgMinister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says the Ministry will be re-allocating what it expects to save from the estimated $2.5 billion that it spends per year on the costs associated with leave for teachers.These costs involve salaries for teachers who are studying; salaries for temporary replacements; tuition; and long leave.Rev. Thwaites says these funds will be redirected into the education sector to allow for flexibility to spend in other areas.“All we are saying is, if we add up all the costs of the long leave and other entitlements, it’s costing us $2.5 billion per year to keep teachers out of the classroom, and this is simply unaffordable any longer,” he asserted.The Minister said where possible, the Ministry is encouraging distance learning, virtual learning, and other diffused methods of studying.He said the Ministry is therefore offering to pay half of the tuition costs for teachers who go this route, provided that there is no diminution of their performance in class, and they are doing well in their course. These payments would be made at the end of each successful year.Meanwhile, Rev. Thwaites emphasised that there will be no termination of the services of teachers who have obtained leave to study outside of their content area, but that the Ministry would discontinue approving such submissions.“Study leave must be in an area that is related to what you teach,” he emphasised.On the issue of long leave, Rev. Thwaites said this will be negotiated with the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA).“It is the principle of this government, that we consult to make changes that are going to affect people seriously,” the Minister said.The Minister pointed out that long leave is often taken during term periods, despite the fact that the regulations, under the Education Act, say teachers in public education institutions should not be eligible for vacation leave with pay, in addition to school holidays.Contact: Alphea Saunderslast_img

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