DISMISSAL letters issued to 11 UTT lecturers have been rescinded, Minister of State in the Education Ministry Dr Lovell Francis confirmed yesterday after an event at the Couva West Secondary School. The lecturers threatened to take legal action if their letters were not rescinded by tomorrow.
“Those letters have already been rescinded. We actually put a halt to those terminations,” Francis said. He continued, “we are facilitating a discussion between the OWTU (Oilfield Workers Trade Union) and the university as to the future of UTT. Francis said until those talks are concluded, “we have really asked there be no firings of any kind.”
Against this background, Francis added, “So there is no need to try to threaten the ministry.” He described accusations levelled against Education Ministry by Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh on this issue as “lazy politics.” Francis said it was no surprise the Opposition would allege political interference or ministerial mismanagement as the Education Ministry facilitates talks between UTT and the OWTU.
As a former trade unionist, Francis said Indarsingh knows there is always brinkmanship and other strategies employed in labour negotiations by both parties to achieve their desired outcome. He was not surprised the Opposition saw only “smoke and mirrors” on this issue.
Francis also said the ministry hoped to receive legal advice from the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs about whether marking school based assessments (SBAs) is part of teachers’ duties. Given the Caribbean Examinations Council’s (CXC) cycle, Francis said the ministry expects to receive this advice quickly.
SBAs are a part of secondary school students assessments for several subjects under the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate curriculum set by the Barbados-based CXC.