Minister of Education Ronald Jones has suggested that “only one per cent” of teachers answered the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union’s (BSTU) call not to mark this year’s Caribbean Examination Council (CXC)-administered school based assessment (SBA) projects.
The BSTU has been contending that correcting the SBAs was not part of teachers’ job description and therefore they should be compensated for marking the external exams.
However, Jones told Barbados TODAY that despite the BSTU’s strong outcry, the ministry had received nearly 100 per cent cooperation from Government-employed teachers in grading this year’s projects.
“That one per cent that listened to the call of their union are the ones who created a little stress in education environment. The schools have been able to find . . . teachers who are in the discipline, and some retired teachers who cannot understand why that one per cent would hold out for payment for the children they worked with either over a year or two years,” Jones said.
“We have been able to meet all of the correction of the SBAs at both CAPE [Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination] and CSEC [Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate] level and students results would reflect this sometime during the course of the middle of the third week of August,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Jones also denied that retired teachers were paid to mark the exams, insisting that a few had volunteered their services to his ministry, amid the ongoing row with the BSTU.
However, BSTU President Mary Redman told Barbados TODAY only a handful of her members had marked the SBAs, and some retired teachers were indeed paid to help with the process.
As the dispute between the BSTU and the Ministry of Education escalated earlier this year, the ministry had threatened to slap teachers with misconduct charges if they refused to correct the SBAs.
Redman said while a large number of the teachers stood behind the decision taken by the union, some of them still went ahead and corrected the exam, which forms a necessary component of various CXC certification programmes.
“The ministry and the schools put systems in place to get the SBAs corrected, but, as I said, they are willing to pay other people to get the SBAs corrected, but many of our members are not correcting them. I cannot say that all of our members did not correct, but very many BSTU members [did not],” Redman insisted.
“In reality the ministry should not be paying anybody to correct CXC exams. CXC should be paying persons to correct their exams. Originally all of the SBAs were sent to CXC to be second-marked, so CXC used to pay for every single SBA to be second-marked and in all of this CXC has never said to us that they cannot afford to pay us, you know. In all of our discussions with CXC they have never raised a point that they can’t afford to pay us, but obviously the Ministry of Education can afford to pay people,” she added.
The BSTU president also warned that her union would keep up the fight for teachers to be paid for correcting the projects, while stating an increasing number of teachers across the Caribbean were demanding payment for marking the SBAs.
“If the ministry and schools are willing to pay other people for correcting them, then why should [teachers] correct them if they are not willing to pay them? The SBA is paper three of the CXC exams. The other two papers are written and persons are paid to correct them and the paper three is the SBA. You cannot pass the exam without having done the paper three, which is the SBA,” Redman pointed out.