Twelve unregistered teachers allowed to work
A dozen people were exempted from education registration requirements to allow them to work in Bermuda schools this year.
Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, agreed that the 12 can lead classes in subjects including English and maths without a teacher certification.
Registration with the Bermuda Educators Council is typically a requirement for anyone who intends to be employed as a teacher, principal or paraprofessional at a school.
The Department of Education noted earlier this month that it had difficulty filling vacancies in certain subjects, including senior school maths.
Mr Rabain said yesterday: “All Bermuda public and private schools are taught by highly skilled and trained educators.
“Before any teacher is employed, they must undergo a rigorous vetting process to determine that they meet all requirements of employment as a teacher in Bermuda by the Bermuda Educators Council.
“Exemptions are granted every year and the Exemption Committee ensures that the individuals, whose names are submitted for an exemption, are of the highest calibre.”
Included in the list published on the Government's Official Gazette on Friday were three physical education teachers, two maths teachers, two English teachers, and a teacher in each French, Spanish, physics, social studies and dance.
The Department of Education said earlier this month that it had “experienced staffing challenges in filling vacancies for music and art teachers at the primary level, and in securing math teachers at middle and senior school levels”.
It added then: “In the interim, in cases where there is a staff vacancy, a trained and qualified substitute teacher has been provided.” Vacant positions at the start of the school year included two music, two art and one PE teacher for primary schools, as well as a foreign language and a maths teacher for middle schools.
A government press release explained yesterday: “Typically, all Bermuda public and private schoolteachers are required to hold a BEC teachers certification licence.
“However, under special circumstances exemptions are approved when the Minister of Education, acting on the advice of the BEC Exemption Committee, determines that there is a need in Bermuda public and private schools for persons who possess knowledge of, and skills in, particular positions that are difficult to fill.”
It added that requests for exemption were sent by principals in order to fill the need at each of their schools.
Requests passed on by the exemption committee to the minister are “usually accompanied by specific stipulations for each individual”, the release added.
Most of those listed in the notice on Friday were exempted until June 30 next year “on the condition that documentary evidence of enrolment in or completion of a teacher certification programme is submitted to the council by that date”.
One was required to submit evidence by the end of the school year that a teacher certification programme was completed.
The Official Gazette notice added that the council will enter the 12 names in a separate part of the register headed “exemptions” and that, “for the purposes of the Act, the persons exempted by this Order are deemed to be registered for the school year”.
On its website, the Bermuda Educators Council said it “aims to enhance the status of the teaching profession through appropriate registration, management of professional development” and a code of ethics for all educators.
It added that through “continued collaboration” with the education ministry, the Bermuda Public Services Union, the Bermuda Union of Teachers and others, it looked forward to “a more accountable teaching body on the island”.
• To view the Bermuda Educators Council exemption order, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”