Ministry rules on SBA boycott
The Ministry of Education is telling teachers that they are legally obligated to correct School Based Assessments (SBAs) for Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) subjects and they will not be paid to do it.
However, speaking to members at an emergency meeting, President of the Barbados Secondary School Teachers’ Union (BSTU) Mary Redman was adamant that correcting SBA’s was not included in a teacher’s job description and they would not do it.
Redman explained that on April 19, 2016, she received by email a copy of a letter dated April 18, from Permanent Secretary June Chandler, advising the BSTU that correspondence from the Solicitor General had informed the Ministry that teachers had a legal responsibility to correct SBAs.
“The Ministry’s response . . . consisted of three lines that amounted to ‘we say SBA work is your duty. Shut up and do it’,” she said.
Redman said she responded to the email, inquiring about the legal grounds that informed the reasoning behind the decision that the marking of SBAs falls within the teachers’ duties, when the BSTU understands that some persons are already being paid to mark.
“We have responded for you and said that we would not be moving from our position in the absence of any reasoned and reasonable response. The SG is entitled to her opinion and so are we and we gave the basis for ours,” Redman said.
“The law courts can settle as it is deemed necessary and the status quo remains. We do not correct without compensation. Any teacher worth his or her salt should be incensed at this insult and if you have bowed to fear and intimidation and already marked CSEC, then there is CAPE and CCSLC at which levels you can redeem yourselves,” she added.
She reminded teachers present that on March 3, the BSTU had sent a seven page letter to the Ministry in fulfillment of their request at a meeting with them two days before. She said that letter outlined the union’s official position and quoted documents registering BSTU’s objections to SBA work going back to 1997.
“Five pieces of correspondence we sent to the Ministry as accompanying evidence of our increasing reluctance to continue what we started off doing in good faith and in a limited amount of subjects at the time of introduction,” she said.
Redman said previously, in January 2014, the BSTU had sent the Ministry the rationale that the Caribbean Union of Teachers had sent to CXC, consisting of five pages of arguments for payment.
“If you do not stand for yourselves now, then you allow the MOE and the CXC to move over time to perhaps make you correct a full examination for them free of cost as they may well move to full 100 per cent SBA course assessment in some subject areas at CAPE where SBAs now constitute 60-70 per cent of exam mark,” the BSTU president argued.