New York school system scouts local teachers
Starting salaries of US$39,000 on offer

Stabroek News
January 8, 2003

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The New York City Board of Education (NYCBOE) is once again recruiting an unlimited number of teachers for its school system from Guyana and other parts of the Caribbean.

Officials from the NYCBOE yesterday briefed about 100 teachers and other persons interested in applying for the various positions in New York at a recruitment seminar at Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel. Some teachers were already in possession of approval letters.

According to one of the recruitment officials, the NYCBOE has recruited some 1,000 teachers from the entire Caribbean region over the past two years, with Jamaica providing the majority.

The official told Stabroek News that after Guyana, the recruitment team will move to Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, Panama and the Dominican Republic.

The board is currently looking for specialist teachers at all levels - elementary, middle and high school - in Mathematics, the Sciences, Special Education, Physical Education, Spanish and English. Some positions are also vacant for Social Studies. Teachers must have no less than three years working experience. Successful applicants are issued with two-year visas.

The annual starting salary is US$39,000 or $7.4M, up from US$31,000. This would be augmented depending on experience and qualifications. The annual salary an eligible teacher could expect to receive in Guyana would be roughly $648,000 or US$3,400.

Stephen Hinds of the Office of Professional Recruitment of the NYCBOE who chaired the briefing session noted that that a number of previously recruited teachers have completed their contracts so vacancies have been created once again.

Approved teachers are required to be in New York by August 3 but Hinds cautioned that the first cheque would be paid on September 16. Accommodation is provided at a hotel free of cost for the first two weeks for those who do not have their own place to stay but they would have to cater for their own meals. If they choose to stay on after the two weeks they would have to pay for their own accommodation. He noted that monthly rentals for decent apartments in New York may range from US$700 to US$1,000. Unlike last year, when teachers were required to provide three original transcripts from the University of Guyana, Hinds said the NYCBOE is asking for only one as the cost of an original transcript was provided by the local university at a cost of US$500.

He advised those wanting to take their families to first travel alone and then send for them later. Education for teachers’ children is also provided.

This is the second year that a full recruitment drive is being conducted in Guyana by the NYCBOE. Last year, teachers literally swarmed Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel but less than 50 were considered.

It is estimated that the US will need some 2.6 million teachers over the next six years, because of retirement and non-replacement.

Recruiters from Botswana recently advertised for local teachers to fill vacancies there and have taken a number of teachers in recent years. Some have completed their three-year contracts and Stabroek News understands that a number of them have moved on to South Africa, England, Canada and the United States.

Education Minister, Dr Henry Jeffrey at a press briefing last Friday at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development acknowledged that the local education system has continued to lose some 230 teachers annually in recent years.

Meanwhile, ministers of education and health within CARICOM have suggested a number of measures they feel should be implemented including training persons specifically for export, managed migration and compensation for training of skilled manpower from the recruiting countries.

US President, George Bush, last year suggested in his Third Border Initiative (TBI) the establishment of centres of excellence with US funding to assist in the area of education. It is proposed in this scheme that some amount of training would be done for export. Jamaica has been considered for a centre of excellence.

(Miranda La Rose)

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