+The Fiji Ministry of Education has informed schools that no teachers are available for placements at the moment. It asks school heads to lead classes and teachers to look after two classes where necessary until new teachers are recruited.
In a circular to all heads of schools on February 15th, Permanent Secretary for Education Alison Burchell says schools have requested additional teachers for the 2019 school year.
“Currently there are no teachers awaiting placement to meet all these requests, particularly in areas such as the STEM subjects and Industrial Arts,” she wrote in the circular.
Science and mathematics fall in the STEM subjects category.
Burchell says the Ministry has been working with teacher training institutions to encourage more students to focus on fields of current and future need since last year.
“However, it will take time for graduates with subject streams in demand to graduate and enter the job market including our schools. As a result, we have commenced further teacher recruitment with applications closing Friday 22 February 2019. If you are aware of qualifying candidates, please advise them of the advert,” the PS wrote.
Burchell says all recruitment will be within the Open Merit Recruitment and Selection Guidelines.
She adds until additional qualified teachers are available, “please could you work practically and logically in managing classes and timetables.”
“This may include offering composite and multi-year classes to ensure the effective coverage and management of all classes. It also includes ensuring that all teachers satisfy the required teaching load,” the circular reads.
Th+e Education PS has warned that classes are not to be left unsupervised.
“Where this is reported, we will investigate and disciplinary action may be instigated,” the circular+reads.
Burchell says all requests for additional teachers will be handled promptly by the HR department.
“The HR Department registers all requests and takes action as quickly as possible. However, where there are currently no fully qualified teachers on the Order of Merit for the subject stream/role, it is obviously not possible to provide a teacher immediately,” Burchell wrote.
“I appreciate your contribution to the team approach to resolving any staffing issues from your experience The HR Department has commenced a full audit of the position and placement records on the HR information system and we +anticipate this will provide more accurate information about current staffing and the required staff for each school,” the circular reads.