The government will engage 60 Cuban teachers as it looks to address a teacher shortage in the public school system, Education Director Marcellus Taylor said yesterday.
Taylor made the announcement after Education Minister Jeffrey Lloyd and Cuban Ambassador Alejandro Garcia signed an extension to a memorandum of understanding (MOU), which allows the Bahamian government to recruit Cuban teachers.
“This year’s exercise [in] recruitment of Cuban teachers, we expect to engage about 60 teachers,” Taylor said during a press conference at the Ministry of Education.
“As in the past, we are looking for assistance in [the] areas of agricultural science, auto mechanics, in the sciences – biology, chemistry and electrical installation and other such disciplines as mathematics, science and French and so, we see this as growth over the numbers we had in the past.”
Taylor said the public school system has had challenges recruiting and retaining teachers. He said many of the teachers who start in the public system move on to more prestigious and lucrative employment opportunities.
A team from the Ministry of Education will travel to Cuba next month for the recruitment exercise.
“That will be a one-week-long exercise to recruit teachers and hopefully all will be smooth, so that they could enter into our space in August of 2020 to work with the students,” Taylor said.
Education officials said the teachers will undergo scrutiny based on their ability to speak and write English.
The teachers will be posted at schools across the country.
“They are prepared to go even to our most remote areas,” Taylor said.
“I can’t say that is always the case with Bahamians because we have a situation where even new graduates who are not married and don’t have any children, when they come out of college and we say that we have a spot for you, but the spot is in a rural area, sometimes they don’t even take up the appointment anymore.”