The government is putting plans in place to address a shortage of specialist teachers for the start of the new school year.

The shortage comes at a time when there’s a decline in the number of students passing the foundation subject of Maths at the CSEC level.

Speaking at a media briefing this morning, Minister with responsibility for Education, Karl Samuda, says it’s imperative the country address the maths deficit.

Minister Samuda, says the country has run out of time to address its deficit in Mathematics. He’s lamenting a 54% pass rate for the subject at the CSEC level.

This year’s pass rate is a decline of more than three percent when compared to last year.

The Education Ministry is putting forward several short and medium-term interventions to improve both the teaching and learning of maths.

These include ramping up of its professional development programmes aimed at improving the teaching skills of teachers.

Meanwhile, the ministry says it has plans in place to address the possible shortage of specialist teachers.

Acting Permanent Secretary, Dr. Grace McLean, says while the Ministry can plan for expected retirees, a number of teachers leave the system in the critical months of August and September. 

Dr. McLean went into further detail as to how the Ministry intends to tackle the possible shortfall.

Meanwhile, Minister Samuda is noting a positive trend for passes in most subjects for the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exam, CAPE and Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate, CSEC.

Minister Samuda says there’s been an improvement of one-point-5 percent in passes for both CAPE and CSEC.

For CAPE, more than 14,000 students were entered for 35 subjects.

95% of those who sat the exam passed with an average pass rate of almost 92%.

This represents a marginal decline of less than 1% compared to 2018.

At the CSEC level, 32, 600 students from public schools sat the exam.

89% of them obtained grades one to three.

Karl Samuda, Minister with responsibility for Education. He was speaking this afternoon at the Ministry’s Headquarters at Heroes Circle in Kingston.