The Barbados Secondary Teachers Union made it clear today that it won’t rest until there is a teaching service commission in place.
And Minister of Education Ronald Jones gave the assurance at today’s stakeholders meeting at the Wildey Gymnasium that all the proposal was waiting for to proceed was the views of the unions.
Second Vice-President of the BSTU, Erskine Padmore, noted that the past eight months for the union had been challenging, but the union would continue to guard against issues like supersession, and work with the ministry to reduce bottlenecks in the system where opportunities should be provided.
He maintained that teachers, whether acting or on temporary attachment should be paid on time, as there was no delay in deducting pay when teacher went on leave to travel overseas or were otherwise away from duties.
“With these issues in mind, it is imperative that the administrative structure of education be reformed to cater efficiently to teachers and teaching matters. The establishment of a Teaching Service Commission can serve well in this instance. Rather than continue to have teacher and teaching matters dealt with as part of the wider public service, a dedicated agency can assist in removing backlogs, speeding up appointments and catering more efficiently to employment and labour relations.
“The BSTU will be relentless in its endeavour to see the establishment of a Teaching Service Commission,” he noted, to applause from the thousands of teachers present.
Jones in his address moments later told the teachers that a commission was on the cards but he had delayed pressing forward until he was able to consult the unions.
“A Teaching Service Commission mention by the BSTU went before the Cabinet of Barbados a few weeks ago. We weren’t waiting for you to tell us because the message was out a long time ago, has been part of our Constitution … for a very long time.
“What I did nevertheless is I ask Cabinet to don’t okay because I wanted the comments of the four unions to be included in the paper. So I prepared a paper to come to you for your comments. I don’t want 10,000 words. I just want you to say the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union, the Barbados Union of Teachers, BAPPSS and APPSS support promulgation of the Teaching Service Commission. I just pulled it back because of that… That has gone forward, that has gone ahead,” explained Jones.
Padmore went on to call for a system of cooperative management in the schools, noting that the emphasis of some heads on claiming the school as theirs placed too little emphasis on the role of teachers in leadership at the class, year and department levels.
He called on principals to dispel the notion of schools as personal fiefdoms, adding that what was necessary was cooperation among all the parties involved. (LB)