On the eve of the deadline for submission of School Based Assessments (SBAs), the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) is sending a warning to authorities who are intimidating temporary teachers into correcting papers: Touch one, touch all!
President Mary Redman today issued that stern warning in response to a new twist in the teachers’ dispute with the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) over non-payment for correcting SBAs.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, she expressed grave concern over reports reaching the union that some principals were instructing some temporary teachers and even heads of departments to mark SBAs they did not supervise
“This is very wrong,” Redman said. “This means that both the temporary teachers and some heads of departments are being made potential scabs. The administrators of schools are using them and placing them in a position to betray their union, their colleagues, and their cause.”
She was adamant that the union “will deal very forcefully and swiftly with any attempts to intimidate any of its members”.
BSTU-affiliated teachers have taken a decision to stop correcting SBAs from this academic year in a stepped-up campaign by the union to get CXC to pay them for handling this assignment.
The Ministry of Education has disagreed with the position of the teachers, contending that marking the SBAs falls within their regular duties.
“In the teaching profession, especially with the personalities operating at the Ministry of Education and the type of instances of injustices we have seen, it may just be a matter of time before these persons who are now attempting to do the work of their colleagues need the support of those same colleagues in matters involving them,” Redman said.
“It is a matter of the old Bajan saying: ‘today for me, tomorrow for you’.
This is why we are saying we must stand together,” the union leader added.
Redman voiced concern at the large number of temporary teachers in the service, saying that many of them have been waiting on appointments for several years.
She reminded temporary teachers that the BSTU was the same union fighting to get them appointed and they had to be cognizant of the union’s efforts.
Alerting temporary teachers to the precarious position they were in, she said: “If we fail in the current impasse, we fail in everything, including securing your appointments.”
Chiding principals for their about-face on the issue, Redman charged: “Some principals are actively trying to intimidate some heads of departments and temporary teachers into marking SBAs, even though many of them have agreed in principle that the SBA is a burden. They have said that publicly. They said it was extremely hard work. However, in spite of having said that, they are putting pressure on teachers to mark SBAs.”
Representing the interests of their children, the National Association of Parent Teachers Associations (NCPTA) has sought to mediate in the impasse, dispatching a letter to the Ministry of Education seeking a meeting involving the CXC, BSTU and the Ministry in a bid at a solution.
Redman disclosed that up to yesterday, NCPTA president Shone Gibbs had not received any response from the Ministry of Education.