There’re stiff penalties being proposed under the Jamaica Teaching Council bill for anyone who attempts to teach without a license.

The bill seeks to establish a governing body for the teaching profession and a licensing and registration regime for all government-paid teachers. 

The fines form part of several provisions in the bill before the House of Representatives.

Chevon Campbell has been reading the bill.

Half a million dollars!

That’s the penalty for a person convicted before a parish court for attempting to teach without a license.

It’s also the same fine for an individual pretending to be a teacher or obtaining a teaching license under fraudulent means.

Both may also carry a six-month prison term upon conviction.

The bill also imposes several requirements upon an individual who’s seeking to become a teacher.

These include a requirement to write and speak English at a level the council considers suitable.

A person seeking to become a licensed teacher must also meet a fit and proper requirement to be established by the Council.

An aspiring teacher must also consent to a criminal records check.

Licenses granted by the JTC will be valid for five years upon which a teacher must re-register.

However, authorisation to teach under the bill must be sought every two years.

To keep a license a teacher must have taught for three consecutive years within the five years immediately preceding their application.

Parents who wish to home school their children will also be required to obtain authorisation from the Council.

In terms of disciplinary action, a teacher must inform the council if for any reason they resign or are dismissed from an institution for allegations of professional misconduct.

The institution is also required to do the same.

The Council may also receive complaints against teachers and refer them to the Ministry of Education for investigation.

The JTC upon conducting an enquiry may sanction a teacher to include reprimand, suspension and revocation of their authorization or license.

An aggrieved teacher has the right to appeal the council’s decision to a tribunal within 28 days of being informed of the sanction.

The JTC Bill will also require six teachers to sit on the Council’s Board.

The CEO of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency, two representatives of tertiary institutions and three nominees from religious institutions which own schools must also sit on the board.

The board must also include two nominees to represent the interest of parents and another two from independent schools.

A member of the Senate, House of Representatives or a Councilor for a Parish Municipality cannot sit on the board.