PRESIDENT of the TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) Lynsley Doodhai has warned Education Minister Anthony Garcia that when the new academic year opens in September, teachers will not be marking students School Based Assessments (SBAs) unless they are paid.
In a hard-hitting address at TTUTA’s 39th anniversary celebrations and retirees function at the Couva/Point Lisas Chamber over the weekend, Doodhai said he is prepared to lock horns with the ministry on the issue. Garcia, who also spoke at the function, did not respond to Doodhai’s warning, but a spokesman maintained the ministry’s earlier position that this is a Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) issue.
“If teachers do not mark the SBAs then students will not be able to get their grades or qualify for scholarships,” a ministry spokesman said. The issue of marking SBAs was raised by teachers in Guyana, Barbados and St Vincent, in the recent past, but the ministry has not taken a position. It is expected the ministry will now consult with its legal team as TTUTA has done.
“TTUTA is unambiguous in its position that the marking of SBA’s is not the job of the teacher since it is part of the evaluation of the CXC, an external agency which is charged with the responsibility of examining Caribbean students,” Doodhai said. He argued that CXC is not the employer of teachers in TT and cannot demand that teachers work for them for free. He said to do so is nothing less than modern day slavery.
He recalled that at TTUTA’s 38th Annual Conference of Delegates in October, two resolutions dealing with SBAs were passed, including one which mandated that legal recourse be taken to obtain a final interpretation on the marking of SBAs, given the consistent refusal of CXC to entertain the payment of teachers.
The second resolution called on teachers not to mark any newly introduced SBAs, including Mathematics and English A, with immediate effect.
“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 and CXC ample notice that from September 2018, when the new academic year begins, teachers will not be marking SBA’s unless they are compensated,” Doodhai said.