Protest action by teachers against the Barbados-based Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) seems set to intensify.
Today, the president of the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU), Mary Redman, again served notice to the authorities that her members will not be marking CXC School Based Assessments (SBAs) this year, unless they are paid.
The BSTU sanctioned boycott started last year with teachers arguing that they should be compensated by the regional examining body, because these assessments meant additional responsibilities outside their normal duties.
Following a meeting with over 120 teachers today, Redman reiterated that they will not be marking any SBAs until they were adequately compensated, while warning that a bigger protest was expected this time around.
The BSTU head also expressed concern that officials of the Ministry of Education had not met with the union, amid the ongoing impasse.
“In fact, they have not deigned to meet with us, and to that extent, as the members have expressed, they see it as disrespect for the union.
“Under these circumstances we are continuing our action where we will not be correcting any SBAs whether at the level of the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence, CSEC, or CXC or CAPE,” said Redman, while noting that “the Caribbean Vocational Qualification, CVQs, have also come into force this year.”
Redman saw CVQs as an added burden on the teachers.
Voicing alarm that some educators had acted as “scabs” last year, the outspoken trade unionist identified principals, retired persons, university students and some heads of departments as the strikebreakers.
“Now ministry officials cannot meet with us to reach an agreement, but they can retain the services of scabs and pay them $25.50 per SBA script.
“We would have been actively involved in assisting the students to finish their projects. As a result we have consolidated our position on that and there is a clear indication that larger numbers of teachers will not be marking SBAs without compensation.
“We will continue to assist students to complete their SBAs, do everything that we are accustomed to doing in that regard, but in terms of marking the scripts and doing all of the data entry work, we will not be doing that,” Redman stressed.
Asked if the BSTU continues to enjoy the support of the Caribbean Union of Teachers in this matter, Redman read an email from newly elected General Secretary Don Howells, which expressed the umbrella group’s solidarity with the BSTU and suggested that remuneration must form part of any discussions on SBAs. (NC)