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Education system lost over 100 maths, science teachers since January

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Thwaites: Education system lost over 100 maths, science teachers since January

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

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OPPOSITION spokesman on education, Ronald Thwaites, has sounded alarm bells about the sector’s continued loss of mathematics and science teachers to overseas recruiters.

According to Thwaites, more than 100 maths and science teachers have left the local school system since January.

At a press conference at the People’s National Party headquarters on Monday, the Opposition spokesman raised concerns about the Government’s scholarship programme for mathematics and science teachers, stating: “We are anxious to know the number of persons who have been given these scholarships this year, and how the payment of funds have been achieved.”

He also alleged that some recruiters are buying out bonds for teachers.

“Some of the teachers whom we gave scholarships for math and science with bonds in 2015, would now be graduating and the recruiters are there buying out the bonds…” he claimed.

In February 2016, the education ministry announced a recruitment drive for mathematics and science teachers under a $1.6-billion programme aimed at providing 1,200 scholarships to teachers by 2021.

Last year, the Ministry of Education awarded 440 scholarships, valued at $330 million, for the 2017/18 academic year.

The programme’s objective was to identify 200 potential candidates from the secondary school cohort in the first year, to be qualified at the first-degree level to teach mathematics, and 200 candidates for the sciences.

The scholarships provide full tuition, except for miscellaneous costs, support for boarding and a stipend to help cover the cost of books and other supplies.

Successful candidates are bonded for five years and are required to sign an agreement that they may be deployed by the Ministry of Education upon completion of their course of study. According to the ministry, more than 490 mathematics and science teachers left the secondary school system between 2014 and 2015.

To help fill that gap, since 2014, the ministry introduced a cadre of mathematics specialists and coaches in primary and secondary schools to assist teachers.

— Alphea Saunders

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