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Saturday 19 October 2019
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No vacancies for teachers, says TTUTA head

TTUTA representatives and teachers during a protest in Port of Spain last Tuesday over stalled salary negotiations. PHOTO BY AYANNA KINSALE
TTUTA representatives and teachers during a protest in Port of Spain last Tuesday over stalled salary negotiations. PHOTO BY AYANNA KINSALE

TT Unified Teachers' Association (TTUTA) president Lynsley Doodhai says while global trends indicate there is likely to be a teacher shortage within the next decade, the situation in TT is quite the opposite.

He told Sunday Newsday the Ministry of Education is inundated with applications for teaching positions but there are no vacancies.

"Globally, there is a teacher shortage but in Trinidad and Tobago, conversely, we have hundreds of persons with applications to the Ministry of Education for teaching positions but there are no vacancies. So, we are in a different position to the global position," he said yesterday.

However, Doodhai said the union has observed, increasingly, that experienced, senior teachers are leaving the service.

"So, what you find happening is that the teaching service is generally becoming a younger teaching service. More persons at a young age are coming into the service."

He said while this development can be a good thing for the teaching service, it leaves a void by way of experience.

"There is also a negative to that to the effect that if you have your senior teachers leaving and some of them are leaving before time, then that would mean there would be less experienced teachers to mentor and guide the younger ones. That would have some challenges."

In his message to commemorate World Teachers' Day, yesterday, Doodhai said young teachers are essential for the future of the profession.

"Without a new generation of motivated teachers, millions of learners worldwide will miss out or continue to miss out on their right to quality education," he said in his address.

However, he noted it is estimated worldwide over 69 million teachers must be recruited by 2030 for primary and secondary education.

Doodhai said of this figure 49 million new recruits will be needed to replace those who leave the profession.

The TTUTA president said the issue of senior teachers leaving the service must be addressed by the Ministry of Education and the Chief Personnel Officer.

"Because if teachers are opting to leave before attain the age of 60, there must be some sort of analysis done to determine what is the reason for this.

"For some, in many instances, it may be due to burn out, dissatisfaction with the job, the need to remove themselves from a very stressful environment. There are many reasons why they have to leave work prematurely."

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