T&T teachers will no longer mark SBAs for free

Lynsley Doodhai

(Trinidad Express) Teachers will no longer mark the School Based Assessment (SBA) from September unless compensated, says President of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) Lynsley Doodhai.

Doodhai was speaking at the 39th Anniversary and Retirees Function held Saturday at the Couva/Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce, an event attended by Education Minister Anthony Garcia.

Doodhai said teachers were under no obligation to mark the SBAs of pupils as this is a responsibility for the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), an external agency.

He said CXC is not the employer of teachers and cannot demand they work for free to grade the papers.

Doodhai said that last year, two union resolutions were passed dealing with SBA’s and a decision was made for teachers to no longer mark SBAs from September.

“One resolution mandated that legal recourse be taken to obtain a final interpretation on the marking of SBAs, given the consistent refusal of the CXC to entertain the payment of teachers, whilst the second resolution called on teachers to not mark any newly introduced SBA’s, including Mathematics and English A with immediate effect.

Colleagues I want to divulge to you today that the Association has had in-depth consultation with our attorneys, who have advised that our members are under no obligation to mark SBAs if they are not remunerated for doing so. I therefore want to give the Ministry of education and CXC ample notice that from September 2018 when the new academic year begins, teachers will not be marking SBAs unless they are compensated. Let me repeat teachers will not be marking SBAs from September 2018 unless they are paid to do so,” he said.

Doodhai also raised the issue of some teachers working in deplorable working conditions, the filling vacant positions and salary negotiations.

Doodhai denied that teachers are involved in sabotaging the sewer systems at school.

He said the Education Minister recently made statements of sabotage of sewer systems in schools and threw blame of the Ministry for compromising the health and safety of the teachers.

He said the Union was concerned with the filling of vacancies for Heads of Departments at secondary schools.

He said it was unacceptable for such positions not to have been advertised for six years.

Doodhai called for the Government to issue instructions to the Chief Personnel Officer to begin negotiations.

He said since November 2015, the Association has attempted to kick start negotiations for a new Collective Agreement for the 2014-2017 to no avail. He said if nothing happened soon, TTUTA will consider “possibly give teachers an opportunity to rest and reflect.”

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