Two-thirds of Suriname high school teachers not qualified

(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO – After a survey, the task force on educational innovation concludes that the percentage of fully qualified high school (VOS) teachers has remained constant for the past four years. Task force chairman Eddy Jozefzoon says only 31% of the teachers are fully qualified, and the Education Ministry is to seek ways to increase this percentage.

Balram Soemeer, chairman of the VOS principals council and principal of the Miranda Lyceum, says the task force’s percentage is close to the truth. All teachers are doing their best, but principals would rather have a higher percentage of fully qualified teachers. Soemeer points out that the teacher training institute IOL has an important role in this by producing more graduates, while more people should be persuaded to become teachers. Jozefzoon claims the percentage of teachers with limited qualifications has increased from 51% five years ago to the current 60%, while that non-qualified teachers is dropping.

The shortage of fully qualified teachers at secondary level is nothing new, and Soemeer says this has not improved much through the years. A consultant wrote a report about issues including teachers and their qualifications when Edwin Wolf was Education Minister, and the intention was to retrain teachers and offer them refresher courses. With regard to primary education, Jozefzoon believes the most experienced teachers should work in the lower grades, as these teachers could intervene at an early stage in case of problems and help improve school results.

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