Teachers shun juvenile correctional facilities over pay – Jamaica
KINGSTON, Jamaica — A shortage of teachers severely hampers the continued education of a juvenile in correctional facilities in Jamaica.
Of 48 teaching posts, 30 are vacant.
These shortcomings/problems were highlighted in the Juvenile Services Report from the DCS, which was recently tabled in the Parliament.
Programmes delivered by the DCS include academic, vocational and life skills.
The academic programme is administered by civilian staff trained and certified at the Bachelor of Science (BSc) level. There is a high attrition rate among teachers and vacant posts remain unfilled for long periods.
“It is difficult to recruit teachers due to disparity in salary and benefits between the DCS and public schools. Salary and allowances are paid at the diploma level although teachers have first degrees. Teachers in public schools benefit from midterm breaks, Christmas, Easter and long summer holidays,” the report stated.
It said there is no established structure to facilitate upward mobility of teachers and teachers in the DCS do not benefit from the Ministry of Education and Youth’s (MOEY) training development programmes, workshops and seminars.
“There is limited or no supervision to ensure that lesson plans, timetables and maintenance of attendance registers are done in accordance with the standards of the (MOEY) and the MOEY does not provide oversight of the system in the DCS,” it said.
“Despite the challenges, over the last five years an average of 15 children sat the CSEC, obtaining 50 per cent passes in one to four subjects,” the report added.
It said the main challenge with the vocational offerings is that the HEART-TRUST/NSTA certification for the various workshops is not forthcoming due to resource constraints and difficulty meeting some requirements. This has resulted in the closure of some workshops and, the instructors who deliver the training are demotivated.
It has been recommended that the MOEY assumes full responsibility for delivering the education programme in the juvenile correctional facilities.