Minister of Education Ronald Jones is assuring that the island’s teachers have not been shut out of the process of decision making in relation to the soon-to-be established Teaching Service Commission.
Following an announcement made by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart last week that the commission will be proclaimed into law on October 16, Jones has also sought to make it clear that there is still room for consultation on the matter.
“There ain’t no final thing . . . All we are doing is having is the Governor General’s assent to promulgation, full stop,” he told Barbados TODAY in response to concerns expressed by President of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) Pedro Shepherd that Government had reached the proclamation stage of the commission without proper consultation with teachers.
While making it clear that the union wanted a say on the type of personnel the commission should carry, the BUT head also warned last Friday that “if it is at the stage where it is completed and ready to be proclaimed, then unless we can see it before the 16th [of October] then we might very well have some issues with the setup”.
However, while pointing out that the unions did a lot of work in the 1980s and 1990s on how the commission should look and function, an agitated Jones said the BUT could hardly claim now that teachers have been shut out of the process.
He also argued that as far as such commissions go, the Prime Minister was free to choose who he wants to put in charge.
“I think he [Shepherd] is confusing two things. He is confusing a teaching service commission that looks at issues such as promotion, discipline and things like that, as opposed to another notion that has been knocking around for a while which deals with issues of qualifications, professionalism and things like that. That’s a totally different construct . . . and that’s an area that we have not gone into,” Jones said.