Teaching appointments process ‘highly flawed’, union says

The Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) has criticized the manner in which appointments are being made by the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) saying that it has pulled out of the process until certain critical changes are made.

 Leila Ramson
Leila Ramson

During a press briefing on Friday, President of GTU, Colwyn King accused the TSC of conducting an appointment process that is “highly flawed and unreasonable”.  He said that the union will not participate in such a process, and has issued a call for the TSC to “clean up its act”.

But Chairperson of the TSC, Leila Ramson rejected King’s statements as mere allegations saying that there is no truth to his words. She declared that the appointment process is transparent and inclusive, emphasizing that the TSC is not solely involved.

Ramson told Stabroek News that the GTU is seeking an authoritative role in the appointment process by requesting the privilege of scoring applicants; it is a decisive role that falls under the portfolio of two commissioners of the TSC. She noted that the GTU cannot assume the role of commissioner in the appointment process.

 Colwyn King
Colwyn King

Speaking with reporters on the issue, King said, that his union would not be a party to any process that raises doubt and is inherently flawed. He charged that the TSC has set up the process in such a way that only its commissioners possess the power to appoint applicants, adding that this often runs counter to the general consensus.

King admitted that the GTU is included in the appointment process, but according to him its role is simply observatory. He said that the union has been bombarded with complaints by persons within the system who have applied for positions and have been turned down because of personal and political affiliations.
“GTU has witnessed firsthand how discriminatory this process can be and we have seen persons within the system being hurt by it, which is why we are calling for a change. We are asking for a panel to be set up to appoint persons as opposed to just two persons,” King stated.

The GTU President insisted that “all is not well” with the appointment process stating that something must be done to fix it. King said the union met the TSC on Thursday and communicated its position. According to him, the TSC has been inflexible and continues to press home the point that it is an independent body.

No biases

Leila Ramson defended the appointment process saying that it is based on a system that is transparent with no hidden areas. She said that applicants are questioned openly by the commissioners in the process of other key educations officials and stakeholders.

She said there are no biases and that favouritism has no place in the process because “that is not acceptable”. Ramson said that applicants who are unsuccessful while pursuing a particular post also have the right to an appeal, which is sometimes exercised.

The TSC head added that what the GTU is after is outside the rules governing the body. She said the TSC can only hope that the union will commit to working with it as it had previously, and that the accusations can cease.

Further, Ramson said that the TSC has a mandate and that it will continue to work as required. She said the accusations by the GTU have slowed the process of appointments, adding that the commission is eager to press on with its work.

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