The President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU), Mary Redman, has responded to comments made by the former registrar of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), Dr Didicus Jules, who last week said that the CXC was looking at issues relating to the “professional upgrading and improvement of teachers in general”.
In a press release, Redman said the comments published in Barbados TODAY’s April 30 edition, where Dr Jules condemned the BSTU’s call for teachers to be paid for correcting School Based Assessments (SBAs), were way out of line and underscored the union’s constant compliant that CXC sees and treats regional teachers as their employees.
“In this way they have consistently taken actions, as a third party, that affect the terms and conditions of service of regional teachers and the Ministries of Education in the region have been in collusion with them in this matter,” the BSTU president charged.
“This is again underscored when he goes on to claim that the CXC and the ministries had an agreement that teachers teaching SBA subjects should be given a ‘reduced workload’ and that SBA marks would replace internal assessment marks and examinations.”
Redman said these “negotiations” took place without input from regional unions individually or with the Caribbean Union of Teachers . She, at the same time, charged Dr Jules of being fully aware that none of these measures were ever put in place.
“Dr Jules, without any indication from the Union of the costs that payment for SBA work would incur, states emphatically that any payment to teachers would exponentially increase the costs of marking these exams.
“He has made this statement without there being any form of negotiation between unions and CXC and in a context where CXC will, because of e-marking, now be saving millions of dollars in air transport, hotel accommodation, ground transport and catering for ferrying teachers across the region to mark exam papers. Also, within this context where the e-papers are being marked starting from a mere, insulting thirty-five cents a question,” she said.
The outspoken union leader commended Dr Jules for honestly recognizing that “correcting SBAs could prove to be very challenging”. However, she called on him to talk about the fact that some countries , such as England, were working on abandoning SBA work because of the workload on teachers and problems involved.
Redman challenged the former registrar on his statement that all the money CXC makes was channeled back into teacher development and other initiatives to improve both teachers and students’ work. She asked him to provide the number of teachers who attended such training throughout the region during his tenure as well as the dates and types of training provided.