Too high a price
Two prominent educators speak out strongly against BSTU-led pay boycott
Teachers at the Parkinson Memorial Secondary School will not be taking part in any boycott of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) over pay.
Principal Jeff Broomes said he met with his teachers yesterday and a decision was made that they would be correcting CXC School Based Assessments (SBA) as usual.
The Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU) recently announced that its members will no longer be correcting SBAs without pay as performing this task represented an additional responsibility. The decision is effective from this academic year.
However, speaking to the media at his Pine, St Michael school this morning, Broomes said while he could not tell teachers at other schools what to do, he could give an assurance that Parkinson teachers would carry out their responsibilities.
He said it was his understanding that the assessments were incorporated in teachers’ duties and therefore it was not a matter for the CXC.
“Assessments are a part of every teacher’s job and I see SBAs as continued assessment. You are not doing it for CXC. When CXC wants somebody to do work, they engage them to do orals and they pay them,” the veteran educator said.
“They engage them to correct papers and they go to Trinidad or wherever and the Ministry gives teachers time off early to go and do these things and they are paid by CXC,” he said.
The outspoken educator of 40 years said throughout his years in the service, he had never heard that the correcting of SBA’s was an issue.
“I don’t get in people business. I do what I think is right and I am very comfortable that I do not understand how SBA’s are due in April and you are going to say in March that you are not correcting them.
“There are 20 something Caribbean countries that are a part of CXC and the only children who are supposed to suffer are Barbadian children? … That says a lot to me and I am not pleased. Jamaican children ain’t suffering, Trinidadian children ain’t suffering. . .,” he said.
Broomes added: “We got to tell people what time of the day it is. I feel it is time for people to be told what time of the day it is.”
Meanwhile, Combermere School principal, Vere Parris, today pleaded with teachers not to let Barbadian students become sacrificial lambs of the region by not correcting the SBAs.
Addressing Combermere’s Speech Day, Parris said since continuous assessment was part and parcel of subjects taught by teachers, why were they expecting to be paid separately for doing so.
“Would it be more plausible to request Ministries of Education to provide greater support for schools and teachers or more favourable conditions of service, given the heavy load that teachers carry and which will increase with the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC) programme?” Parris asked.
He pleaded: “Do not hurt our children and their future! Do not let us be the laughing stock nor let our children be the sacrificial lambs of the region!
“Teachers have children too! Would teachers want their children hurt this way? Do not be like the West Indies team in their recent tour of India. What a price to pay and nothing to gain,” he said.
Parris questioned if Barbados was not the only country in the region adopting such a stance and whether teachers were paid separately for marking course work in the courses they teach.
He said CXC was “a creature of the governments of CARICOM” and Ministries of Education of member countries were fully aware of CXC’s policies, “since there is high-level ministerial representation on decision making committees of CXC”.
“Do the issues being raised by regional teachers unions truly sit only in the lap of the CXC? Can CXC, by the money it collects for administering exams, exist as its own entity or does it rely on subventions from regional governments?” Parris asked.