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Substitute teachers’ contracts extended, plans in motion to make them civil servants

The contracts of more than 100 substitute teachers have been extended as plans are finalised for them to be made civil servants.

The confirmation comes from Director of Education, Clare Browne.

109 substitute teachers were recruited in October after government’s vaccine mandate created a void in the public school system caused by some educators, who were on leave without pay, because of their unvaccinated status.

The temporary workers, who began performing duties on 1st October, 2021, were strategically placed throughout the public school system, to ensure there were no interruptions to the teaching and learning process.

Their agreement with the Ministry of Education ended on 31st December, but officials have seen the need for their continued contributions and have renewed their contracts for three months, commencing this month.

Director of Education, Clare Browne said: “Once the teachers who were on unpaid leave were allowed to return with testing in December, the government also allowed the substitute teachers to remain.

“We have since asked the Cabinet in a formal way, through a circulation note, for the Cabinet to allow us to hold the substitute teachers for the next three months, until such time.”

He explained the communication dispatched to Cabinet is simply a formality, since the decision making body had already agreed to allow the Ministry of Education to continue to retain the substitute teachers.

Clare Browne revealed the extension will allow his department to put mechanisms in place that will allow for a smooth transition of the substitutes to permanent employees.

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“During the period of substitution, we want to do the paperwork to get them over as fully established teachers in the education system,” Mr. Browne revealed.

He offered high praise for the level of work they put in during the last three months, saying the ministry has benefitted from the mandate.

“Many if not all the principals would have written, indicating how well these substitute teachers immersed themselves in the work and how they have really helped to ensure that at a time  when students needed to have teachers, they would have ensured that student learning continued.”

Director Browne views the move to make the substitute teachers permanent employees as “just reward”.

Mr. Browne insists the substitutes were carefully selected and are well qualified, with many being holders of bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

“These are persons that had applied for teaching. We went through a vigorous interview process, they would have been trained (concentrated), they went out and delivered and the principals are attesting to the quality of their performance,” the director added.

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