The Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) is concerned about some educators being superseded after years of acting in senior positions, at times without reimbursement.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, union president Mary-Anne Redman flagged “serious issues” in the recruitment, selection, and appointment process, primarily of senior teachers and Heads of Department at secondary schools.
She took specific issue with teachers being asked to respond to advertisements for the same positions in which they were acting for many years, only to be overlooked in favour of others with no experience in the role.
“So, you have a situation where somebody may be acting in a position for three or four years having been interviewed for assignment to the position sometimes a year after starting to act. This person continues to act in good faith for years after, with no indication of the outcome of the interview, only to be told that they were not initially recommended and someone else has been confirmed in the position. Often they are not paid during the intervening time frame for performing those acting statutory responsibilities,” said Redman.
“The BSTU has serious issues about many aspects of the recruitment and selection process as it operates in the school system, and the length of time that it takes for persons acting in positions to be confirmed in those positions and to be paid for acting in those positions,” she reiterated.
Even more concerning, Redman noted, was the fact that those superseded have had positive performance reports on their record.
“Certainly, what we are saying is that the appraisals of persons who are actively filling those positions should be taken into account and the length of the time that the persons have acted should also be considered when it comes time for regularisation of the positions. Those persons have legitimate expectations after such time has passed with no negative reports,” the BSTU leader said.
“Such circumstances are embarrassing, demoralising, and demotivating for the persons involved.”
Redman has also advised teachers that they should not commence acting assignments without receiving formal correspondence, to ensure that they are “officially known to be performing in those positions of special responsibility” and should therefore be paid from the commencement of those acting positions.
“We want their work experience in the positions to be taken into account along with the appraisals that should have been done on them on a frequent basis as legislated,” she said.
The trade union leader disclosed that discussions about these issues had already started with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of the Public Service, including at the level of the Director General in the People Resourcing and Compliance Directorate. Those meetings are said to have occurred as recently as July 28 and 29.
The complaints about supersession follow concerns from the BSTU and the Barbados Union of Teachers earlier this week about efforts to place newly appointed principals on medium-term contracts instead of continuing as tenured public officers.
Union leaders are especially concerned about a lack of engagement from the Ministry of Education about the implication of the new contracts on educators’ entitlements as long-standing public workers. (TD)