RETRENCHMENT NOT AN OPTION FOR TEACHERS IN MERGED SCHOOLS

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Senior Minister of State for Education Janil Puthucheary has moved to allay the real fears that teachers might have that when their schools merge, they might lose their jobs. He reassured that the teachers affected by upcoming school mergers will be given bridging courses and lighter teaching loads where possible, and that they would not be retrenched.

Dr Puthucheary said the bridging courses will help equip the affected teachers with the competencies and content knowledge to make the switch, while the lighter loads would give them time and space to adjust. Dr Puthucheary said besides the bridging courses, affected teachers will also have the opportunity to be attached to their new schools before their formal postings begin. After they have been posted, MOE will continue to support these teachers through regular engagement sessions. Redeployed teachers will also be paired with mentor teachers while schools, where possible, have been asked to adjust their workload.

This worry for teachers who might find themselves out of job came when MOE announced that due to a shrinking student population, 14 schools will be folded into others by 2019 to keep school sizes feasible. For the first time, this merger exercise will include junior colleges. Dr Puthucheary also addressed the concern among some parents and students that fewer junior colleges would mean stiffer competition for places. He said the cut-off points may vary slightly next year following the mergers, but gave the assurance that every student who qualifies for junior college admission will have a place.

Melvin Sam

A.S.S. Contributor

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