“It is a great injustice to the teachers of Jamaica. It’s a travesty. As a matter of fact, if could find another asinine term to describe it I would because here we have teachers teaching for years without leave.”
These were some of the emotional words spoken by Paul Adams, principal of Herbert Morrison High School in Jamaica at JTA Golden Torch Awards ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus on Thursday. Adams appealed to the officials about a breach in the education regulations. He said that while the rules state that 10% of a school’s teachers are allowed leave at any time, right now only 2 percent of teachers can do so.
Under the law, teachers are entitled to four months’ leave after five years of service and eight months after working for 10 years. But Adams claims that the bureaucracy was restricting leave approvals, and educators were being forced to delay vacations for nine to 15 years.
“There is a calculated plot between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance” he said. “We the teachers, you don’t know if we are ill, because we don’t show it, you don’t know if we are feeling pain. God in heaven, you don’t know if we are dying, and we go out there and we work and we work,”
Education Minister Fayval Williams disputed the claims saying that at least 5 % of teachers were allowed leave at any given time. She further stated that she was unaware of a backlog of leave approvals, but hinted toward budget implications for the cause of all the issues.
However, Adams remained adamant in his stance and implored that the ministers, “cut the foolishness about money”. He stated that teachers’ health and wellness should not be sacrificed on the altar of financial prudence.
“It can’t work. We are going to die one by one,” he said.