The Ministry of Education and Youth (MoEY) has described as “blatantly false” a story carried recently in the media under the headline ‘A teacher in my parish got $6.68 for salary in March 2023″.
The ministry, in a press release Tuesday, noted that the report quoted the president of the Westmoreland Chapter of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA), Kerry Ann Wolliston, as saying, “There was even a teacher in my parish who got $6.68 for her salary in March and was not paid the correct amount up until now.”
According to the ministry, it has confirmed that the monthly salaries for the referenced teacher, net of all deductions (including deductions to a credit union), were as follows:
Net Salary (net of deductions including payments to a credit union)
The ministry explained that the teacher is a temporarily employed, pre-trained teacher who is currently substituting for another teacher who is on secondment.
“The ministry has been waiting for the pre-trained teacher to deliver her transcript to the ministry so that she can be upgraded and compensated accordingly. To date, the transcript has not been received from the teacher,” the statements explained.
“The MoEY continues to request from the President of the JTA, Mrs LaSonja Harrison, the specifics of any teacher’s situation so the matters can be researched,” the statement added.
“Generalities, without specific names of teachers, make it impossible to research as each teacher has a unique pay slip. Additionally, specifics of the teachers’ situation help with the turn-around time…” the release continued.
It cited two examples in which the JTA president contacted the ministry and/or Minister of Education Fayval Williams on behalf of teachers who were supposedly not paid.
In one instance, a cancer survivor with more than 30- years’ experience, purportedly did not receive her salary and was in need of money to purchase medication. The JTA president wrote to the minister about the situation on May 2.
On May 5th, the ministry’s Payroll Department responded to say the following:
“Good day Minister,
Teacher, Mrs (name omitted), was paid salary. She had also contacted the unit re retroactive, which was paid to her March 2023 correctly and senior teacher retroactive paid April 2023.”
Said the ministry: “It is clear from this example that Mrs Harrison is getting incorrect information”.
In another example, the ministry said Harrison reported that two teachers in an infant school and another teacher in a different infant school had not received their salaries.
According to the ministry, it responded to Harrison on the same day “to say that for the two teachers “…no continuation letter was received for payment.” Additionally, for the one teacher in the other infant school, that teacher is on “no pay leave and no resumption letter was received.”
The ministry argued that these examples show that Harrison is not getting the full and correct information in its entirety.
“It would appear that mischief abounds and calls from Mrs Harrison to disrupt the education sector should be very carefully examined in light of the misinformation as demonstrated by these examples,” the ministry stated.
Williams said that she respects the right of the JTA to advocate on behalf of its members.
However, she has called for rationality to prevail and for the specifics of the teachers’ situation to be presented to the MoEY to allow adequate research and response.
“A destabilised education sector serves no one,” she said.