Marking school based assessments (SBAs) is part of teachers’ duties, two senior Government ministers have declared, however the Education Ministry will consult the Chief Personnel Officer and legal sources on their terms of employment.
Leader of Government Business Camille Robinson-Regis and Education Minister Anthony Garcia insisted SBAs have been in existence for the past 28 years, as they addressed the TT Unified Teachers Association’s (TTUTA) position that teachers will not mark the assessments when the 2018/2019 academic year starts in September unless they are paid.
SBAs are a part of secondary school students assessments for several subjects under the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate curriculum set by the Barbados-based Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).
In the House of Representatives on Friday, Robinson-Regis said the ministry will have discussions on TTUTA’s position with stakeholders, including the National Parent Teacher Association and the Secondary Schools Principals Association, but did not say if there would be any talks with the teachers union.
“SBAs form part of teachers’ duties. This form of assessment has been in existence for the last 28 years,” Robinson-Regis, the Planning and Development Minister, said in the Lower House.
“Further, the position proffered may have implications for teachers’ terms and conditions of employment. In this regard, the ministry will consult with the Chief Personnel Officer and our Legal Services Division for guidance on the way forward.”
Garcia reinforced this action, almost verbatim, in a ministry release yesterday, except to add the discussions will also include denominational boards but he too did not say if TTUTA will be approached on the matter.
TTUTA president Lynsley Doodhai yesterday said the organisation was not contacted for discussions with Government but it was of no consequence.
“No consultations with other stakeholders will get us to stand down on our position with respect to the marking of SBAs. We represent one of the major stakeholders, the teachers, who are expected to play a large part in the process of getting the SBAs completed and marked,” he said.
Doodhai explained that CXC paid teachers privately to mark examination scripts and conduct oral examinations.
Since SBAs contributed to 20 per cent of the final CXC mark on a subject, it was part of the exam so teachers should be paid separately.
“By and large teachers cannot mark the SBAs at school because they have the responsibility of normal classroom teaching and other teaching-related duties. What happens is the teachers have to carry the SBAs home to get it marked.”
He said it was similar to police and fire officers being asked to work at parties or other events. They did extra work and were compensated privately for their time and so should teachers.
He said the position was taken after careful consideration and advice from TTUTA’s attorneys.
“If the ministry wants to consult their legal people of course they are entitled to do that but we are not adverse to going to court for a determination on this particular matter.