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Several job ads for educators raise questions about teacher shortage

Several job ads for educators raise questions about teacher shortage

With nearly two dozen vacancies for educators being advertised in recent weeks, questions are being raised on whether the British Virgin Islands is experiencing a shortage of teachers.

Before applications closed last Friday, May 7, the Ministry of Education had job openings for two school principals and assistant principal, two teacher assistants, and a staggering 14 teachers to serve in various subject disciplines.

Most of the educators being sought were for the primary level.

The job adverts have since been pulled from the government’s website and it is not clear how many of those positions have been filled so far.

Teacher turnover nothing new

BVI News recently invited Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley to comment on whether there was indeed any teacher shortage locally or if educators have been resigning since the COVID-19 pandemic that has severely affected education sectors across the world.

The minister did not explicitly say whether there was a shortage but rather underscored that “the education system in the BVI and around the world is a system which is constantly in need of teachers”.

“There is a growing population of students in the public school system that create the need for more teachers. There are teachers who leave the profession to further their education. There are teachers due to return from their studies who have delays due to COVID-19. There are persons who leave the profession for personal reasons. Teacher turnover is nothing new and there are many reasons for it,” Dr Wheatley explained.

He added: “We are about to relaunch our Teacher Education Programme at the HLS Community College to provide avenues into the teaching profession. During Education Week, we sought ways to appreciate our teachers. We have many challenges to overcome in the system, and I will continue to make improvements to the system.”

What’s happening in the US

Over in the United States, there are widespread reports that schools around the country are scrambling to find replacements as several teachers opt out of returning to the classroom because of COVID-19.

And according to the Associated Press, schools have been lowering certification requirements to help get substitutes, in some cases.


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