Tue | Sep 17, 2019

Speid wants review of school subventions

Published:Thursday | August 22, 2019 | 12:07 AM

WESTERN BUREAU:

Owen Speid, the newly installed president of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA), wants the Government to immediately review the monetary subventions that schools receive as according to him, those monies are not sufficient to operate schools effectively.

Speid made the call on Monday during his inaugural presidential address on the opening day of the JTA’s 55th annual conference.

“The allocations to schools by way of subventions must be examined with a view to increasing them significantly. The annual figures of J$19,000 per secondary-school student and $2,500 per primary student must be reviewed with great urgency because if you do a little bit of PEP (Primary Exit Profile) math, you’ll discover how miserly the figures are,” he said.

The JTA president added that “$2,500 per year, which is what they give to run the operations of a primary school per child, is equivalent to $800 per term, $200 per month, $50 per week, and $10 per day. We’re not talking about United States dollars, so that’s far from sufficient. With the increase in the cost of goods and services, there’s no way around substantially increasing the education ministry’s allocation,” added Speid.

Turning to another issue, the JTA boss urged teachers not to surrender their vacation time to attend workshops aimed at improving educators’ professional development.

“We’re in tune with professional development, but professional development should not come across as oppressive. We should strive to discontinue having holiday workshops, and you should not apologise for the break that you get in the summertime or the other short breaks you get,” said Speid.

“Many people out there in other sectors get more holidays than we get, and we are, perhaps, the only profession where they sometimes deny us our leave when we apply for it. Nobody can work under the conditions that teachers in Jamaica work for 12 straight months and remain sane,” he said.

– Christopher Thomas