PARAMARIBO, Suriname, Monday May 14, 2012 – Only 31% of the teachers in Suriname are fully qualified and the Education Ministry is to seek ways to increase this percentage.
This was asserted by Eddy Jozefzoon, chairman of the task force on educational innovation after revealing the results of a recent survey, which concluded that the percentage of fully qualified high school teachers has not increased for the past four years.
Jozefzoon claims the percentage of teachers with limited qualifications has increased from 51% five years ago to the current 60%, while that of non-qualified teachers was dropping.
The relative low number of higher qualified teachers has also caught the attention of authorities within the school system.
Balram Soemeer, chairman of the high schools principals council and principal of the Miranda Lyceum, is reported to have said that the survey portrays an accurate representation of what occurs across the schools as the shortage of fully qualified teachers at secondary level is nothing new.
Soemeer lamented that this had not improved much through the years and he pointed to the teacher training institute as having an important role to play in increasing the numbers of qualified teachers in by producing more graduates, while more people should be persuaded to become teachers.
This issue reared its head in the past and under former Education Minister Edwin Wolf, a consultant wrote a report about issues including teachers and their qualifications with the recommendation for teachers to be retrained and offered refresher courses.
In commenting on the primary school system, Jozefzoon made a recommendation for the most experienced teachers to work in the lower grades of these schools so that these teachers could intervene at an earlier stage to mitigate early learning difficulties and help to improve performance results.