Union accuses service commission of ignoring criteria for teachers promotions

Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) General Secretary Coretta McDonald yesterday accused the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) of denying teachers just and legal promotions every year by ignoring the agreed criteria for advancement.

At a press briefing yesterday, McDonald told reporters that though criteria for promotion was agreed on between the Ministry of Education and GTU and submitted to commission, it seemed that it had “no meaning when it comes to promotional opportunities for our teachers.”

GTU President Colin Bynoe related an instance where a teacher of Black Bush Polder Secondary was overlooked in favour of another teacher for a promotion. Since the overlooked teacher was senior to the promoted teacher, the GTU said, a review was requested so as to ascertain what led to her not being promoted.

The teacher was told that she had been cited for a series of discrepancies, and as such could not be promoted.

Though she had been cited for these discrepancies, Bynoe said, charges were not brought against her. Furthermore, a check of the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) files of the discrepancies revealed that they had not been signed by any regional education officer or the chief education officer. Additionally, Bynoe said, some of the discrepancies stated could not be substantiated.

Further investigations revealed that the teacher who was granted the promotion might have benefited from favouritism through certain connections, Bynoe said.

The situation is not helped by the fact that teachers, instead of being promoted based on experience and other qualifications they have accumulated, seem to also need the recommendation of the Regional Educational Officers (REdO) if their request for promotion is to be treated favourably, he said.

Requests for promotions need to pass through TSC and Bynoe said the REdO’s signature of recommendation improves a teacher’s chances of being successfully promoted.

There are instances, he said, where a former REdO has signed on promotion requests that an applicant was not favourably recommended. This creates a situation where teachers may be placed at a disadvantage, he added.

Bynoe said GTU is unable to engage the former REdO and it was pointless to involve the Ministry of Education since the matter is under the jurisdiction of the TSC, an autonomous body.

The GTU is also claiming that the commissioners of the TSC have been breaking regulations as it relates to the how the body’s business is conducted, particularly as it relates to disciplinary measures.

Colwyn King, former president of the union yesterday related that a headmaster who was charged with several cases of insubordination was found guilty just two days after his case was heard by two commissioners.

What was particularly troubling, King said, was that only two commissioners presided over the hearing, even though the TSC’s regulations stipulate that at least 3 commissioners need to be present at such events.

The GTU said these practices are unacceptable and it is demanding an urgent meeting comprising all major stakeholders in education, including the ministry and the TSC.

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