Dear Editor: Know why there’s a teacher shortage? Ask the MoE when last they paid substitute teachers

“[…] The Ministry of Education seems not to care about substitute teachers who make themselves available to fill the gap for full-time teachers. Sometimes four months after the execution of our duties, payment is still outstanding. It may be six months after too, or even an entire year. 

“[…] I can’t seem to understand why the Ministry offers such a facility if it cannot properly accommodate these teachers, who are well certified and do the exact job as those in full-time employment…”

The following Letter to the Editor, which complains about late remuneration for substitute teachers by the Ministry of Education, was submitted to Wired868 by a substitute teacher who requested anonymity:

Photo: A substitute teacher skit on the Key and Peele show.

The Ministry of Education does not seem to care about the substitute teachers who accept the call of duty to stand in for absent full-time teachers! Who cares about us? To me, the answer is no one! 


I read an article recently in the dailies where the Honourable Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly was responding to parents’ concerns about a teacher shortage at St Anthony’s College. The Honourable Minister suggested that principals have the option of using the substitute teacher portal to access teachers to fill such gaps.

One must now wonder: if there’s a portal for the Ministry of Education to access substitute teachers, why then is there still a shortage? 

Permit me, as one such teacher whose name is in the substitute portal, to explain. 

The Ministry of Education seems not to care about substitute teachers who make themselves available to fill the gap for full-time teachers. Sometimes four months after the execution of our duties, payment is still outstanding. It may be six months after too, or even an entire year. And to top it all off, our remuneration is heavily taxed.

Photo: Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly.
(via Newsday)

I can’t seem to understand why the Ministry offers such a facility if it cannot properly accommodate these teachers, who are well certified and do the exact job as those in full-time employment.

I have been in the system as a substitute teacher since 2016 but discontinued in 2018 because of the above-mentioned issues. And it seems like, four years after, nothing has changed.

A couple of weeks before the Prime Minister announced that all public servants must be vaccinated to continue their duties, the Ministry of Education paid a courtesy call on me and a couple of other former substitute teachers to enquire if we were interested in re-joining the system. The suggestion was that they anticipated a teacher shortage, due to resistance for the new vaccinate mandate.

One week after the Prime Minister’s announcement, I received a call from a school for an immediate appointment. And throughout the term, from January up until today, I am still attached to that school continuously—without breaks.

But, guess what? I have so far received payment for only one out of nine cycles!

Photo: Teacher at whiteboard.

Minister of Education, you need to do better. This is way beyond unacceptable. We refused to leave the students unattended and this is what we get in return?

Next time you wonder why there’s a teacher shortage, sit and ask yourself: when last were the substitute teachers paid?

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One comment

  1. Disappointing to say the least. I feel very upset about this.

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