THE Teaching Service Commission (TSC) has announced an end to its acceptance of unsolicited applications for teaching posts.
Contacted Thursday for clarification on this development, Education Minister Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said the application process at the TSC had become time consuming, frustrating and untenable.
In a WhatsApp message to Newsday, Gadsby-Dolly explained the TSC's announcement on Thursday that it will no longer accept unsolicited applications for teaching jobs was down to the fact that demand had far outstripped the need or supply of such posts.
“The processing of applications, for which there is no job available, consumes much valuable time and resources at both the TSC and the ministry," Gadsby-Dolly said in her WhatsApp response to Newsday.
The TSC's announcement which was posted on the ministry’s social media handles, said the commission will cease accepting applications from September 30.
Vacancies in the Teaching Service will be advertised on a needs basis and people will be invited to apply for positions in keeping with such advertisements, the TSC advised.
"This process also frustrated the ever-increasing number of applicants who expect a response and quick placement, and are left waiting for many years without same, and worse, having to reinterview every three years. The system was simply untenable,” Gadsby-Dolly said.
She said the revised arrangement will allow the recruitment process to be streamlined and her ministry can devote more time to pressing human resource matters, such as the continued digitisation of services and digitalisation of teacher records.
“While I personally understand the disappointment some may feel because the opportunity to apply at will for teaching will cease, the fact is that the current process gave many false hope, which quickly turned to bitterness when the reality of the delay in placement stepped in.
“My advice to aspiring teachers is that they should carefully consider that there is currently a dearth of vacancies in many areas of teaching. They should also pay attention to future advertisements for teaching staff, which can be used to guide possible areas of study and career development,” the minister said.
'IT MAKES SENSE'
Fatima College Principal Fr Gregory Augustine agreed with the TSC saying there are too many people already in the pipeline waiting to be called to fill vacancies.
“Yes it makes sense, I know someone waiting six years to teach. Why make that line even longer (by allowing unsolicited applications)? There is no shortage of people wanting to teach.”
Augustine said the more popular the subject, the more people there are waiting to fill the position. “(Applicants) wait for years to be interviewed, so there is a backlog. It makes sense that no one else be allowed to apply because people are already in the system waiting to be interviewed. Their documents are in,” the principal said.
CEO of the Catholic Education Board of Management Sharon Mangroo said there are certain subjects that are over-subscribed in terms of people wanting to teach them. “There may not be demand for their areas. French, for example, there is a high demand.”
Mangroo said the TSC's mandate is one way to help fill vacancies that are available. “We do have a number of applications…so I understand the situation. That would be for secondary schools in particular.”
Secretary General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) Vijay Maharaj said the Maha Sabha's education board has about nine applicants who have all passed their interviews with the board and the ministry, still waiting to be placed in schools and fill existing teaching vacancies.
“The Teaching Service Commission is holding its hands to issue letters of appointment because they don’t have budgetary allocations to pay,” Maharaj said.
He said the Maha Sabha does not have any teaching vacancies at its schools at present. “They are all filled (but) what we do have are teachers on maternity leave and that is being looked at.” He said temporary teaching positions – to hold on for teachers on three months leave, or those on extended leave for six months, are what is currently available.
“A lot of people are trying to get in, yes. We recommend if you do apply to the (SDMS) board, you should apply to the government at the same time and whichever comes up first, grab it and then look to transfer to the board of your choice,” Maharaj said.
President of the TT Unified Teacher’s Association (TTUTA) Antonia Tekah-De Freitas said the union would have to make inquiries into why the TSC notice was issued.
“All subject areas need teachers. It is a matter of vacancies to be filled and how quickly they can be filled. We need further clarification (on the TSC notice),” she said.
Roshan Babwah, in commenting on the story about the TSC stopping unsolicited teaching applications, posted to Newsday's website on Thursday evening asked, “What about those who have already legitimately applied? What is the status of their applications?”