The president of the Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools (BAPPSS) Vere Parris is worried about the impact the ongoing row over the marking of the Caribbean Examinations Council’s (CXC) School Based Assessments (SBAs) is having on students.
In fact, Parris, who is the principal of the Combermere School, warned today that there was more at stake than just compensation for teachers.
“My view is that we have got to consider what is also best for our students, what it would mean if students’ SBAs are not marked,” he said following a meeting between officials of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) and the Ministries of Education and Finance on Monday.
A major row has developed between the union and the Ministry of Education over the BSTU’s refusal to correct the SBAs for which it said the teachers ought to be paid because these assessments meant additional responsibilities.
However, the Ministry of Education has been adamant that SBAs, which represent between 15 to 40 per cent of students’ final CXC grade, form part of the teachers’ normal duties.
Following that meeting BSTU President Mary Redman said the union had clarified a lot of areas and helped the ministry officials to better understand the volume of work involved in correcting SBA scripts. A follow-up meeting is scheduled for the first week in February.
Parris, who is refusing to take sides in the dispute, said consideration needed to be given to the impact on teachers given the increase in the number of subject areas in which SBAs were offered.
“At the same time it is not just Barbados. Barbados is only one territory in the whole region where CXC is involved, and any policy in one is likely to affect the policies in the other,” he told Barbados TODAY.
“It is better therefore that there is that dialogue between the employers, in this case the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, and the representatives of the teachers. That is what we, as BAPPS, have advocated. And having advocated that we are happy to see that there has been a meeting to engage the teachers’ representatives to see what exactly they have to say on the issue. And of course I know that the ministry will also have a position on the issue, but there is dialogue,” he added.
The veteran educator suggested that since negotiations were ongoing, the marking of the SBAs should continue.
“So we will wait and see what will be the outcome but it not just a simple are you for or are you against, it is not a simple yes or no,” he said.
“It affects the life of students, all the students in Barbados who write any examination that are under the aegis of the Caribbean Examinations Council. So we have to think of our future generations and make sure that we make decisions that are in their best interest as well. It is not just one sided. It is not just one side against another side. So we have to take the interest of everybody into account,” he stressed. (MM)