Teachers who engaged in protest action on Monday and Tuesday, returned to their classes on Wednesday, vowing, however to return with intensified protests in a bid to have matters dealing with job statuses and working conditions dealt with.
The teachers picketed the Division of Education offices on Dutch Fort Street, Scarborough in a bid to get a meeting with Administrator Jacqueline Job. On Monday, they were told that Job would not be meeting with them that day and that she would set a date for a future meeting. On Tuesday, the teachers were blocked by security guards in their bid to again force a meeting with Job.
Some 100 teachers have complained that they are working as Assistant Teachers, some for seven years now, despite being qualified to serve in Teacher 1 positions, having obtained the necessary qualifications after attending tertiary institutions.
Speaking to Newsday Tobago, Orlando Kerr, Tobago Officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teacher Association (TTUTA) Orlando Kerr said teachers have decided to return to the drawing board to strengthen their strategies for intensified protest action.
He gave no details but hinted at interruptions at schools for this term and at the beginning of the new term in September. Asked about the impact on the students, Kerr said TTUTA was keeping the wellbeing of schoolchildren in mind but must make serious attempts to get some sort of redress for frustrated teachers waiting over seven years now for an upgrade to the job statuses.
He reiterated that while these appointments were the responsibility of the Teaching Service Commission, it is the Education Division in Tobago that must first make recommendations to the TSC.
He said some 200 teachers were currently awaiting upgraded statuses in Tobago with only 21 appointments being made in the last 5 years.