President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) Mary Redman is calling for an investigation into the recruitment practices at some of the island’s schools.
Redman charged that there was a lack of transparency in the recruitment of staff, as well as a disregard for procedure in the make-up of some of the school boards.
“Some schools in relation to recruitment practices, some boards aren’t being properly constituted. Heads of department of all or any department that the prospective employee would be placed are not being included in the interview panel,” she told Barbados TODAY.
The union boss also complained that there were instances where representatives of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) were left out of interviews, depriving them of an opportunity to make an input.
“As the representatives of labour on the boards of management for the purposes of transparency and accountability, best practice dictates that the CTUSAB rep must be a part of that panel. This is not happening in some schools.”
Redman declined to name the offending schools, but promised to divulge more information at a later date.
She also contended that some boards were overlooking experienced staff members who had acted in senior positions in favour of new recruits who did not possess the requisite experience.
In addition, the outspoken trade unionist claimed temporary teachers who maintained excellent performance records were being disregarded when opportunities for confirmation emerged.
“There is the problem of persons who have been acting positions for many years and have maintained a good report. However when the positions are to be established, the job is advertised, they go for the interview and somebody who has never acted in a position of responsibility . . . or in some cases have never even taught, is given the job over them.
“We have seen temporary teachers who have acted for years and have consistently maintained good reports, overlooked for someone new, even though they have a legitimate expectation of being rehired. We have a lot of irregularities and anomalies in the recruitment process and it is causing a grave concern for the union,” Redman said, adding that there were schools that played by the rules, and involved the CTUSAB representatives.
However, Minister of Education Ronald Jones dismissed the BSTU’s allegations as unfounded, arguing that school boards did not represent the final step in the recruitment process.
“The school sets up a committee, so you have the personnel and human resources committee but that is only to make a recommendation to the wider board. So the wider board including CTUSAB members sits in on those recommendations. At the final analysis if they are temporary workers that is approved only by the Chief Education Officer,” the minister explained.
Jones also insisted that no one acting in any position was assured of automatic confirmation in that post.
“Nobody is guaranteed a job. They have to face the interview process and then you might not get the job. At the end of the day it is in interview. If you don’t want an interview, canvass and write the Government to change the Public Service Act,” he said.