Teachers must be compensated for grading SBAs

Dear Editor,

Please allow me some space to highlight a major injustice by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).

Each year CXC offers over 25 CSEC subjects, most of these subjects have an SBA (School Based Assessment) component. Just recently even the English and

Mathematics syllabi were adjusted to include an SBA component. These SBAs generally are projects that contribute to, on average, 20% of a candidate’s overall score. The SBA is therefore a critical element of a student’s grade. These SBAs are taught, marked and corrected by teachers in schools across the Caribbean.

The months of January to March for most teachers are plagued with the pressures of SBA marking. Teachers teaching Grades 10 & 11 in all schools across the Caribbean are burdened with the additional workload of SBA teaching, correcting and marking. This additional workload is of no cost to the Council. The Council therefore profits off the uncompensated labour of teachers across the Caribbean. Are there no right-thinking, just persons within the Council to realise same?

Editor, let me elucidate this situation further. Private candidates do not do an SBA. Instead of the SBA, they write a Paper 3/2, aka 3rd paper. This option generally assesses the same principles students doing the SBA are assessed on. The Council will pay to have this 3rd paper marked.  If this Paper 3/2 is the equivalent to the SBA and CXC pays to have that marked, then why are teachers not compensated for marking the CXC SBA? If no teacher marks the SBA and candidates are forced to write the 3/2, would the council not pay to have their works assessed? What is the difference here?

Additionally, in the science subjects for instance, most of the experimental reports are designed by teachers. Teachers and schools are sanctioned when the SBAs are poorly done yet not rewarded for their intellectual property.

Most pertinently, most of the CXC syllabi recommend 6 hours of teaching per week per subject. This therefore means that teachers are burdened with marking SBAs and completing their teaching obligations. Is this fair? Is it just that teachers are not compensated for this additional workload?

The Guyana Teachers’ Union and Ministry of Education need to represent their teachers. We should not and must not burden the pillars that are holding our education system together.

Until there is an open-minded discussion facilitated by the council I would support, like the Barbados Union of Teachers, a boycott of the SBAs.

Yours faithfully,

Jamain Hatton

Teacher

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